Wolfman has been done so many times as have all the classic monster movies. So when doing one of these monster movies again you need to make sure your film stands out and provides something different that hasn’t been seen before. Unfortunately, THE WOLFMAN provided none of that and was a rehash of the same old stuff we’ve seen before.
Set in the 1880’s in the Victorian-era Great Britain, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) has returned home to investigate the mystery behind his brother’s disappearance and death. He learns of an ancient curse of a monster empowered by animal rage during a full moon, which seems to match the evidence of the missing victims in town. After being bitten by the creature, he is nursed back to health by his father (Anthony Hopkins) and his brother’s fiancé (Emily Blunt). While attempting to unlock the mystery behind the monster, he must battle the monsters of his past and within himself.
The film contained a few nice camera shots of chases within the trees and the fog lit by the moonlight but overall was too unclear. The color pallet seemed set far too dark, making it difficult at times to even appreciate some of the Victorian style clothing and structures. As for scariness, it did provide a few jump moments but as whole I never felt the intensity and exhilaration of a possible scare. The impending doom never felt front and center, as a story about Wolfman should. There is a particularly creepy dream sequence, which contains most of the real scares.
The special effects and makeup were really cool and the transformations from man to Werewolf were my favorite moments. However, the transformation from man to wolf in the 1980 film AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON were done just as good if not better than the current WOLFMAN. The film feels dated and slow as if it was released in an earlier time. If it had been, like before all the other countless wolfman movies or in place of the original, I’m sure it would be considered great, but that is not the case and it’s 2010.
I’m a fan of Benicio who seems bred for this role. I guess that’s why he got cast as Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in BIG TOP PEE-WEE. It was nice to see Anthony Hopkins in a role again who is definitely a veteran to this type of film (see: BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA). Emily Blunt is consistently beautiful. The actor I really enjoyed though was Hugo Weaving as an inspector who is investigating the deaths. He brought an interesting energy that I wished could have had more screen time.
THE WOLFMAN was apparently plagued with production problems that I am not fully aware of. It has been delayed several times over with an original release date set all the way back in 2007, which I’m sure did not help it’s cause much. Well it’s three years later and not much to show for it. The film isn’t horrible with a couple of ok scenes; it’s just that it didn’t provide anything really worth seeing and begs the question, why do it?