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The Wolfman

Director Joe Johnston's 2010 remake of the classic Universal horror film.

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A Lacking Update Of The Classic.

  • Feb 14, 2010
Pros: Good Cast and FX

Cons: Nothing new here.

The Bottom Line: Some good FX but hindered by a outdated and uninspired plot.

During the golden age of cinematic horror, Lon Chaney terrified audiences with his portrayal of the Wolfman which launched the character as a cultural mainstay.

Over the years there have been countless updates to the tale which ranged from Michael Landon in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf, to the more contemporary “An American Werewolf in London” and “Dog Soldiers”.

With remakes being all the rage in Hollywood, Universal has returned to the original source material to offer an updated version of the original classic. 

     Set in England near the start of the twentieth century, the film stars Benicio Del Toro as an actor named Lawrence who is summoned home when his brother goes missing.  Upon returning to the lavish familial estate, he is greeted by his estranged father, (Sir Anthony Hopkins), who informs him that his brother mutilated body was discovered earlier.

Dismayed by the condition of his brother’s remains, Lawrence decides to stay and get to the bottom of the mystery. When a clue provided by his brother’s fiancé leads him to a Gypsy encampment, Lawrence learns of a curse, but before he can obtain the information he desires, the camp is attacked by a mysterious creature that leaves a horrific path of carnage in its wake and leaves Lawrence badly wounded from a bite.

Lawrence makes an amazing recovery from his wounds and in doing so raises the suspicions of the locals who now see Lawrence as cursed and a threat to their society.

Lawrence has also raised the suspicions of Scotland Yard Inspector, (Hugo Weaving) who is convinced that Lawrence may be a key player in the local horror, as he was confined to an asylum in his childhood following the death of his mother.

At first Lawrence is outraged at the accusations, but when he transforms into a deadly creature and embarks on a deadly killing spree during a full moon, he soon learns a dangerous secret that places not only his life in danger, but endangers all those around him.
In a desperate race against time, Lawrence attempts to get to the root of his troubles and set things right before the next full moon, when his animal side will take over once again.

The film is a stylish update of the original and the cast is strong. Sadly they are given little to do with the by the numbers plot, and spend much of the time looking like they are simply going through the motions which makes it difficult for the audience to develop a deep sympathy or attachment to the characters.

Oscar winner Rick Baker has done some amazing makeup work and the effects of the film are solid. It was reported that the film was delayed so Universal could punch the film up by adding some new fx and sequences.

The final result is a mixed bag as while the film is a nice update on the original, audiences have seen more so many variations of the story over the years it is hard to be surprised by anything in the picture. Despite the best efforts of the creative talent, there is little tension or drama in the film and by the time the finale plays out, many may think they have seen it all before.

Universal has released the 1941 original Lon Cheney version of the film on DVD and for those who like film history; they may gain a new insight into the film by watching the original version prior.

In the end, “The Wolfman” works as a matinee or a DVD rental, but I would not suggest it as a full priced theatrical experience for anyone other than those looking for a piece of nostalgia.

2.5 stars out of 5.


Movie Mood: Scary Movie
Viewing Method: Press Screening
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Plot

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More The Wolfman reviews
review by . March 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Embrace Your Inner Monster
   This movie was quite a surprise. I've never seen the original 1941 film, so I had no idea what to expect. I certainly never imagined what the film actually turned out to be--a confusing story and plot that relied too heavily on CGI affects to cover glaring gaps. I don't expect horror films to make perfect, logical sense. I prepare myself for the plot holes and actually enjoy exclaiming over the fact that there's no way the murderer could have moved that fast to kill the …
review by . December 24, 2010
 can see what Hollywood was trying to go for with this movie. Namely, a modern attempt to recreate the style of classic 1930's monster movies. Their first effort at it is The Wolfman, and they definitely pull that off in most ways. Benicio Del Toro does a fantastic job in the lead role, and Anthony Hopkins is naturally such a good actor that he can bring perfection to any role that he assumes. Lush, victorian-style visuals combined with bloody gritty violence also work quite well surprisingly.   …
review by . February 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE!
   There is no question that the original 1941 film “Wolfman” was a classic so I would not even try to compare director Joe Johnston’s 2010 remake titled “The Wolfman”. I’ve read that the film had suffered many re-shoots and heavy editing, actually the movie had been pushed back to different release dates before it settled in on one. The film is a fractured stab at the classic horror film, it has so much style that gave it potential, yet the storytelling …
review by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I saw the Wolfman earlier in the year when it came to theaters with my kid and again recently with my wife on On Demand and thoroughly enjoyed myself each time. I have gotten kind of tired of these stupid, hipstery, over-stylized "horror" movies with werewolves that simply turn into giant dogs and fight people or vampires or whatever. This was a throwback to what the wolfman really is, a cursed man who turns into a half man half wolf during the full moon. This movie had the classic look …
review by . February 12, 2010
Pretty Tame for a Beast
 THE WOLFMAN Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self   Directed by Joe Johnston   Starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving   Sir John Talbot: Never look back, son.  The past is a wilderness of horror.   Theoretically, I would welcome any monster movie these days that wasn’t about vampires and that also wasn’t geared towards teenage girls.  When that alternative is THE WOLFMAN though, a remake …
review by . August 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is an interesting new take on the werewolf genre. The movie takes place in the late nineteenth century England, and at the center of the story is a family that has been torn apart by inter-generational feuds between father and his two sons. The setting of the Victorian England is richly mined for its visual backdrop, and this is one of the more appealing features of this movie. The werewolf CG effects are very well done, but they are nothing spectacular. In fact, the CG-generated werewolves …
review by . May 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Legend is reborn......
Horror, a genre that has terrified millions for the better part of 114 years this fabled genre took its first leap in 1896  with Georges Méliès'  "Le Manoir du diable"(The House of the Devil) which is cited as the very  first horror film. another more influential  film that is now lost to time is  Paul Wegener's "The Golem"(1915) taken from an ancient Jewish legend, Than there came  Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" …
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
As is often the case with remakes of classic films,The Wolfman just doesn't live up to the original. While the film boasts an impressive cast, all of whom give strong performances, the story sinks beneath the number of uninspired action scenes and the overuse of special effects. Having said that, this is the first time in a mainstream American film where I've seen realistic werewolf carnage, which was rather fun. LOL! Luckily, the cast takes their roles seriously despite the poorly written …
review by . March 01, 2010
It was Saturday night, on a movie and dinner date with my wife with the kids at home with the babysitter. We went to see The Wolfman, with a quick Thai dinner to follow.      The Wolfman is the perfect kind of a movie for a night out like this. Nothing too out of the ordinary, a fairly predictable plot, and an old fashioned horror movie which reminded me of those old time Hammer horror movies I used to watch as a teenager. Imagine those old movies, but remade with modern effects …
Quick Tip by . October 30, 2010
I loved how they pulled up an old school feel to this movie.
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #112
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman, is lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father, Talbot sets out to find his brother... and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself. Talbot's childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe, tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline has come to investigate.
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Director: Joe Johnston
Genre: Horror
Release Date: Febuary 12th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 102 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Stuber Productions
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