The Wolfman (15)

Directed by Joe Johnston
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self
Screening at FACT (12th - 25th February 2010)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is an entertaining piece of hokum. Starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins - the latter is in surprisingly good form in his role - it is an adaptation of the The Wolfman made in 1941, which featurred Lon Chaney Jr as the hirsute one.

With all the classic ingredients of a horror film - lots of fog, the ever-present menace of the full moon, a blood fest (for example heads being decapitated), dark interiors of stately mansions, and at times camp acting - surely none of the actors taking part could take this film seriously.

Apparently there were a lot of problems in production, with the movie taking longer to finish than expected. Maybe they had to wait for a fully luminous moon to appear to enable everyone to do the filming. Only joking of course!

Hopkins (in a part played in the original by Claude Rains) welcomes back his son Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) to the family home after a long exile, the day after his brother has been torn apart on the moors by a wild animal or a crazed psycho. In pursuit of his killer the younger Talbot ends up being attacked by the monster, with predictable consequences.

He then goes on the rampage, devouring endless numbers of people, despite being pursued by a Scotland Yard detective, impressively played by Hugo Weaving (V For Vendetta). He had further reason to catch him, having recently failed to capture Jack The Ripper.

There are several interesting cameo performances of characters inflicting gypsy curses on people, locals who appeared to have been born through inbreeding in the isolated village, a godfearing vicar and a menacing Indian servant with a giant moustache and a turban.

The love interest is served up by Gwen (Emily Blunt), the fiancee of the murdered Talbot. There is one poignant moment near the end when the wolfman, ready to kill her, looks at her with compassionate eyes - somewhat similar to the way King Kong looked at his beloved damsel in distress - and restrains himself from doing so.

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