In the Picture

The Wolfman

Directed by Joe Johnston

Rated MA

If this movie were any more Gothic Robert Smith would be condensing it in a tube and wearing it on his lips.

Right from the start you know what you’re in for: a dark, brooding, menacing tale with an unhappy ending.

The architecture, lighting, costumes and indeed the story are all Gothic, Gothic, Gothic (and especially the décor, all dead animals on walls, covered in cobwebs and sheets).

The Wolfman is a remake of a 1941 movie of the same name, which I admit I have not seen.

It is a werewolf movie so again you know what you’re in for: innocent people attacked by mystery beast, our hero naively investigates and is bitten and turns into a werewolf with some sort of side love interest, who may or may not be able to save his (and it is always his; while vampire flicks have considered suffrage enough to give women the bite, I’m yet to see a female werewolf on our screens) eternal soul. So it’s a remake of a horror movie that’s gone on to provide a tried and tested formula.

And it scared the pants off me from start to finish (not literally, that would be inappropriate in a cinema and I’m a big believer in functional waistbands) but the sporadic frights came from cinema tricks like loud noises and sudden appearances.

It’s also, in 80s-slasher flick style, extremely gory and bloody (note to the squeamish – either take a pillow to put in front of your own face or a viewing companion to hide behind).

I have a lot of respect for the actors in this movie – Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving and Emily Blunt – but this wasn’t a vehicle for any of them to showcase their best work.

Maybe it’s churlish of me but I wanted more from the special effects; I know this was a remake and a werewolf is a werewolf but, after the spectacular make-up for the creatures in The Lord of The Rings, I was sort of expecting a werewolf that looked, well, wolf-like instead of an actor with a hairy head that looked like it could have been made for a primary school production of Little Red Riding Hood.

Also, again, and I concede it may be my expectations were unfairly high, the characters were inconsistent, the storyline patchy at best and the final scene is the biggest set up for a series since the end of Superman II when the announcement ran “Coming soon: Superman III”.

The Wolfman provides exactly what it promises: a dark, scary remake of a horror movie formula. But it’s a formula that works for a reason: people like being scared witless in the safe confines of a multiplex and compared to the insipidness of the last supposedly ‘horror movie’ I saw, the truly tedious Twilight, I’d go for the devil you know – or in this case the werewolf.


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