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The Wolfman (2010)

February 13th, 2010 by unkle lancifer · 12 Comments

There are two movies I can always count on to put me in the proper spooked-out, gleefully morose mood I crave. They are both seriously flawed yet provide the comfiest old fashioned creep quilt you’d ever want to bask beneath. BRAM STOKER’s DRACULA(1992) is lush and sweeping, though famously marred by dingbat acting and TIM BURTONS SLEEPY HOLLOW(1999) is brisk and haunting, though convoluted and scarred by numerous doofus moments. Well, I’m happy as hell to add THE WOLFMAN to my short list of beautiful losers; it is a relentlessly gorgeous visual stun-athon that hits the ground running but ends up stumbling and falling on its face like a damsel in knotted woods. The good news is that this wolf’s room emptying flatulence takes place so late in the party that you can only shake your head and chuckle at it as you push it out the door.

Does anyone else think that BENICIO DEL TORRO resembles DEAN STOCKWELL mixed with BRAD PITT’s way hotter brother? There is inspired casting everywhere you look here folks and although ANTHONY HOPKINS is a ham and cheese hot pocket, that’s what he’s paid for. I know that I’m a sucker for all things pasty and raven haired, but EMILY BLUNT and her ice shard eyes are almost too much for me to bare. I’ve had a mild case of stalker love for her ever since WIND CHILL but now I think it’s time to start cutting out letters from magazines and assembling a message for her eyes only. Man oh man this movie with its lantern lit caravans, leather bound libraries, silver canes and whiskey drinks, gnarled branches and autumnal fervor is just plain ravishing. I seriously just wanted to walk into the screen and stay there forever; y’all know what you can do with your iPads and GA-GA’s (No offense, fame monster!)

So how’s the story (or the wolf’s tale?) well for the most part great. It all pretty nicely moves up to an incredible peak at a mental institution where our pal Larry gets the FRANCES FARMER treatment. In fact, the psychological spine of this flick is sort of a reverse FRANCES that replaces mommy issues with daddy ones. Maybe a subtler approach would have worked better here (we are basically dunked into an icy bath of HOPKINS’ Freudian faux-pas) but it’s an undeniable super blast watching the inevitable head shredding of numerous head shrinkers.

Now I don’t want to get too spoiley here but things do go downhill eventually. The films climax borders on cartoon ridiculous and the father /son conflict becomes a tiresome diversion from what’s really interesting about THE WOLFMAN, the subjugation of our animal impulses. The final battle we are shown doesn’t even visually mesh properly with the rest of the picture. Whereas before we were shown awesome half-man/half-wolf hybrids suddenly there are fuzzy super hero creatures bouncing around. Any CGI subtly you may have been hoping for is (literally at one point) thrown out the window.

I bet you dollars to dog biscuits that this BATTLE OF THE GARGANTUANS looking ending (I’m not exaggerating by the way) was part of the film’s notorious reshoots. The only thing that scares me more than the idea that Hollywood thinks audiences are so dumb that they need this type of crap to enjoy a film is the idea that Hollywood may be right. THE WOLFMAN was doing quite fine without the adolescent action figure shit and a more somber conclusion was called for.

The fact that THE WOLFMAN revealed its desperation and lap dog subservience in the end does not spoil the fact that me and the old boy had an excellent run. I’m sure that future viewings will smooth my distaste for the third act but I’m sending out a prayer for an alternate director’s cut of some sort anyway. THE WOLFMAN is mostly just too goth-glorious to miss, my eyeballs are still writing home about it as we speak. It’s sad though that certain people could not trust the tale enough to allow it to take its natural course. As usual, somebody somewhere confused setting the beast free with pulling in the reigns.

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 PhantomWerewolfNo Gravatar // Feb 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Unk, I couldn’t agree with you more. This movie has it’s obvious flaws, but it’s such a beautiful and fun film I couldn’t hate it if I tried. I think the people that are bashing it are only focusing on the negative and I’m glad I’m not the only one that had a good time watching this.
    Here’s hoping they release a special edition with deleted scenes and such. This movie deserves that.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 13, 2010 at 4:39 pm


    This is my type of movie! Sure that ending is pretty lame but I feel like a bit of an ingrate complaining about 10 minutes when I was on cloud 9 for much of the rest of the film. I’d see this one again in a heartbeat and I might as well order my DVD now. 

  • 3 PhantomWerewolfNo Gravatar // Feb 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I already have plans to see it again next weekend with some friends and if I could reserve the DVD it’d be done. Probably going to save up to buy the 12″ action figure too, this werewolf design is one of the best out there.

  • 4 NiNiNo Gravatar // Feb 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Oh damn, I might actually have to brave a movie theater for this one. It’s just so hard to refrain from throwing my shoes at the ubiquitous texting teenagers while screeching, “BRIGHT LIGHT! BRIGHT LIGHT!” (Also, I wear clunky shoes and those suckers can do some damage.)
    Maybe I could huck Red Vines at them instead. God knows I can’t actually eat the things.

  • 5 Jeff AllardNo Gravatar // Feb 13, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Glad you enjoyed this one, Unk – I had a blast with it, too. It could’ve been better, yes, but what worked about it really worked.

  • 6 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 14, 2010 at 12:59 am


    I couldn’t wait to hear your views on this one and I was not disappointed…
    it really is way better than it has a right to be
    and like you, I’ve always loved the wolfman a bit more than the other classic monsters
    (although I most identify with Frankensteien!!!)

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 14, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Like you, I only venture to the movie theater when I absolutely have to. I think this one is worth it and happily I was lucky enough to see it with a respectful crowd.

  • 8 LaDraculNo Gravatar // Feb 14, 2010 at 6:57 am

    I am a sucker for period horror. 🙂
    There IS a deleted scene involving a blind opera singer (Who is played by London’s current Galinda in “Wicked”, Dianne Pilkington) and it’s in one of the trailers…
    But I read one of the inspirations for that movie was “Curse of the Werewolf”, and this movie had the ending I always wanted from that movie…because it’s more heartbreaking when it’s the person they can’t have pulling the trigger.

  • 9 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 14, 2010 at 12:07 pm


    I loved the ending with Blunt by the waterfall… I thought that was beautiful
    I just thought the father/son smackdown was WAY over the top 
    I love period horror too and it really is worth it to see this type of thing on the big screen with the proper sound….

  • 10 DavidFullamNo Gravatar // Feb 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Totally loved the new Wolfman. Worth the wait in my opinion.

  • 11 micksterNo Gravatar // Feb 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Prof VW and I finally got to see The Wolfman this weekend. We both enjoyed it a lot. I agree with you Unk that the “smack down” was a tad over the top, but other than that it was awesome.

  • 12 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Feb 22, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I saw it this past weekend. I got in at an 11:50 AM matinee show and my theater couldnt have had more than 20 people in it – all of whom were very well behaved ( I was the ‘rowdiest ‘of the bunch, so thats how I recommend seeing it. A night-time show and Im sure a bunch of teens with cel phones would have been pissin me off throughout the movie! (Damn, whippersnappers!)
    I reaslly enoyed it! I thought its old-timey-ness might make it boring but it really wasted no time gettin to the ‘meat’. And I enjoyed watchin people get torn apart! I think it really helps that we actually feel sorry for the monster in this one so we take HIS side , even when hes ripping people apart (most of whom DESERVE it!) The burnin down the house fight scene was a bit over-the-top in a VAN HELSING sorta way but the actual ENDING ending was good so I can forgive .
    The only thing I laughed about when it was over is – is it just me or are werewolves the hardest horror movie monsters to pull off? I have really never seen one that scared me and even though the tfransformation scenes were pretty good once he actually WAS a werewolf (in clothes!) he looked sorta Big Teddy Bear-ish!
    Im sure you guys have an article on here somehwere about werewolves and which ones came out best (AMERICAN WEREWOLf in london) and ones that werent so hot (SILVER BULLET). Gotta dig through the archives and try to find it!

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