Werewolves, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. Over the years, we’ve seen many different types of movies about these vicious monsters. However, if we wanted to go back to the original movie that started it all, that would be the 1941 film The Wolf Man. And the movie we’re going to be talking about today is a loose remake of that classic. The Wolfman, 2010 edition, is a period horror movie starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. It’s basically a big-budgeted ($150 million) werewolf movie.
This means you can expect excellent special effects, a relatively solid story, and phenomenal cinematography. However, the thing that stood out the most to me was the atmosphere. It was surprisingly dark throughout and sort of lingering. You felt this evil oozing from almost every scene. This ancient evil which feels completely at home in the old Victorian setting. Damp, dark, and depressing, it was the perfect werewolf hunting ground. And immediately I remembered two similar movies.
The first one is a stand-alone Sherlock Holmes movie from 1988, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Starring Jeremy Brett, it left a distinct mark on me when I was younger. And the second one is the stylish French masterpiece The Brotherhood of The Wolf. Moving on, The Wolfman features a surprising amount of gore and graphic violence, as any self-respecting werewolf movie should. After just ten minutes we see the corpse of a man torn to shreds by the beast. Granted, I did watch the director’s cut of the movie, so you might go for that version if you want the juicy and gory details.
It is the year of our lord Satan 1891, and actor Lawrence Talbot just received news that his brother was viciously murdered. He makes his way to the sprawling mansion he once called home to get to the bottom of this mystery. John, his father, thinks that something is awfully wrong. And so do the townsfolk who partly blame a strange wild beast and partly gypsies who are camping nearby. And then the second attack happens, removing any doubt and sending the entire town into a bloody frenzy.
Apart from Del Toro and Hopkins, we also have talented Emily Blunt playing the role of Gwen Conliffe, Del Toro’s fiancée. She brought an air of grace to this sordidly male affair. I applaud the filmmakers for their decision to do away with romance and keep things tight. This will not be Pride and Prejudice but with werewolves. The pacing felt very deliberate and it further emphasized the several energetic action scenes. You already know the formula, we go from a brutal attack to a bit of talk and tension only to once again defend against the beast.
I would cut about 20 minutes of this fluffy footage and keep things moving. While those scenes were beautifully filmed and acted, they’ve also made a running time of two hours feel a bit longish. Still, all of this fades from memory once the action starts again. The first transformation sequence was just a teaser for the main one that was fucking glorious. And the way the werewolf moves and attacks was the best that I have ever seen on film. Finally, I have to say that An American Werewolf in London still remains my favorite werewolf movie.
Director: Joe Johnston
Writers: Andrew Kevin Walker, David Self, Curt Siodmak
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, David Sterne, Emily Blunt, Cristina Contes
Fun Stuff: Benicio Del Toro is a huge fan of the original movie, The Wolf Man. He also served as an executive producer for this movie, trying to make ever since he first heard of the idea of a remake back in 2006.