Thursday, 11 February 2010


Now Showing
Universal Pictures

Looking to sink your teeth into something a little less saccharine this Valentine's Day weekend (and the antithesis of the film which shares that day's title)? Try The Wolfman, Joe Johnston's remake of the classic 1940s werewolf film where the only hearts on display are those being ripped from the chests of local villagers.

It's 1891 and something is killing people on the moors. When the son of the Talbot estate falls victim, his brother Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro) returns home to try and discover what killed his sibling. Lawrence, now an acclaimed stage actor, has been living in America since an early childhood tragedy; a convenient plot device which enables Del Toro to avoid affecting a poor English accent.

Still, he fares better than Anthony Hopkins, as Sir Talbot, who has a crazy gleam in his eye (the one not focussed on the cheque he cashed for this role), and Emily Blunt, who plays the grieving fiance. Blunt isn't bad she's just not given a lot to do until the third act requires her to play the damsel in distress.

If I'm sounding as though I didn't like The Wolfman that's not the case. In actuality I quite enjoyed it. It's a popcorn movie for sure, despite the period costumes and heavy brooding. There is genuine suspense early on when the werewolf makes his attacks, which are fun to watch in a bloody kind of way. But when Lawrence is bitten by the beast he inevitably becomes one too, reducing the level of suspense since we know where he is at all times.

Still, when the American werewolf goes on a rampage in the streets of London (wait a minute . . .), pursued by a Scotland Yard detective (Hugo Weaving), it's bloody good fun, not that the filmmakers appear to deliberately be going for that effect.

Horror, or rather, gore fans may not find The Wolfman bloody enough and fair point: if I can hack it you're grandmother probably can too. But believe me, it's a much more rewarding way to spend two hours (and a much more guaranteed way to get your date in your lap) this weekend than sitting through that all-star pap screening in the other theatre.

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