Movie Review: The Wolfman- An Incredibly Bland and Poor Attempt at Revisiting the Classic Horror Film

Due to the modern era of horror and torture porn the genre has unfortunately had a drastic change in focus from forcing a feeling of suspense and uneasiness within the audience to a more blatant display of gushing violence and expected jump moments with typical music stings. Joe Johnston’s new horror/action movie The Wolfman, based off the original Universal horror classic, falls into this typical category of well executed overly violent action segments within a framework of ridiculous and bland dialogue exchanges which results in a mediocre, if not laughable, film experience. The overall product is a tad enjoyable, if only for Sir Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving, but there is always something lacking in every pivotal scene that is supposed to explain what is going on and fails to make sure that we care. An inconsistency in tone for all of the poorly delivered segments is what really brings down the picture since the exposition moments in between the more violent exchanges range from ridiculous, awkward, and even incredibly dry. As a horror film there isn’t much to admire or be surprised about nor is Johnston doing anything new with the action twist on the genre. The Wolfman is just another one of those blockbusters that mildly entertains with spectacle, over the top blood and guts, and mind numbingly poor exposition and acting segments integrated throughout making it a nice looking below average action horror film.

While watching The Wolfman one can’t help but notice the stylistic paradox chosen to present such a modern display of shocking violence. The Victorian era costumes and elaborate set constructions were obviously a hard task to complete and unfortunately the results are not worth it. The film follows our protagonist Lawrence, a horribly bland Benicio Del Toro as an actor who has come back to his home country of England with his theater troupe and has just learned of his brother’s unfortunate death by the hands of an unknown beast. Back at his home we learn of his brother’s horrific death of being torn to pieces as well as obtaining flashbacks of the unfortunate demise of Lawrence’s mother, who seemed to have taken her own life. Lawrence makes a promise to his brother’s widow, a seemingly bored but slightly effective Emily Blunt, in which he will do everything within his power to find out exactly what happened to his brother. This entire plot point lacks so much conviction that it’s really hard to follow the ridiculousness that comes afterwards. Trailing his brother’s path to a band of gypsies on the outskirts of the town Lawrence is badly wounded during an attack by the strange beast, which is explained to us in a gypsy language that he is now cursed to be a harmful creature. From here the film is basically Lawrence trying to control and figure out a cure to his adopted curse that seems to have been passed down to him by his mysterious father, played efficiently if not extraordinarily by Sir Anthony Hopkins. In comparison to the original source The Wolfman lacks an incredible amount of finesse and dedication to the story and characters that could have made this revisiting of the classic horror film a desirable film experience. Unfortunately the typical story and lacking dialogue make for an excruciating experience that is more horrifying than the actual film itself.

Benicio Del Toro hasn’t lived up to his Oscar caliber in the last couple of years. While some might scream praises of his performance in Che one can’t truly appreciate a performance that fails to realize a characters potential and weak flaws, which Benicio Del Toro could never understand in the actual figure of Che Guevara. In Johnston’s The Wolfman it’s an even blander performance that will make you wonder why Del Toro is even an A list actor in the first place. His line delivery is incredibly dry, his transformation segments seem more of an inconvenience in performance rather than convincing, and the lust or love he might feel for the also bland Emily Blunt is practically unfelt. Making up for the horrid protagonist choice are two always wonderful actors Sir Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving. With Anthony Hopkins one can tell he isn’t really taking the film entirely seriously although when he has fun with a role his talent knows no bounds and is able to be convincing if not fantastic. The same also goes with Hugo Weaving who plays a Scotland Yard officer determined to find the truth behind the brutal attacks and does not delay for action. It is just a tad unfortunate that Emily Blunt is in this period piece drivel after her wonderful performance in The Young Victoria but it’s understandable that an actress must take the good with the bad.

Supposedly The Wolfman is a modern horror film but the horror genre has drastically lost its way in the midst of torture porn and excessive violence. Johnston’s take on The Wolfman is more of an action film with horror elements lacking the ambient suspense that defined the unease and frightening atmosphere of the classic horror genre. A horror film was never intended to have only shocking moments but instead was to deliver a cinematic experience and manipulating the audience’s familiarities and comforts. Now all we have is Hostel with its horrific use of violence for pleasure and blockbuster drivel such as The Mummy that adds a bit of comedic nonsense amidst big budget special effects. There needs to be a horror genre revival that takes a page out of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and manipulates the genre’s familiarities and expands on them to create an atmosphere of suspense and unease again the same way the classic horror genre did it as well as the suspense master Alfred Hitchcock. Until big budget nonsense such as The Wolfman stops making money studios will stop producing it and it seems as though that is a long way off from ever occurring.

It appears that The Wolfman can be added to Joe Johnston’s list of poorly made action atrocities that focus the film around the special effects spectacles rather than how they aid the story being told. Who would have thought that the director of The Rocketeer and Jurassic Park III wouldn’t be able to tell a unique and riveting story? One can’t help but wonder what this director will do to Captain America, which has too much promise as a comic book franchise to mess up. The Wolfman is not a good horror film since it deals too much with cliché music stings and sudden jump moments rather than suspenseful ambience. It is also not even a good action film since it’s more about the spectacle of blood and gore in the modern sense rather than allowing for well executed and planned out action sequences that are impressive instead of quick and dull. With its typical story, good share of bad acting, and lack of creative delivery The Wolfman stands as a cinematic disaster that this writer plans never to revisit.

Grade: C-

2 Responses to “Movie Review: The Wolfman- An Incredibly Bland and Poor Attempt at Revisiting the Classic Horror Film”
  1. Sanday says:

    Someone else should have played Lawrence….Del Toro seemed too old.
    Never understood the significance of the man on the train with the
    wolf head cane….who the heck was he? Brad Pitt would have been good in the part of Lawrence….more believable. Didn’t like the ending. In the beginning it mentions there is a cure for being a wear wolf. Would have been better if he had been cured by his love and then they both fled to American to live
    the rest of their lives.

    • Count DoCo says:

      The cane at the start of the movie has people to belive that there is no significance with it at all but if you look at the end of the movie at the investagaters face you will see it has a great deal of importance to it. It would seem that it may have been the cure. so people like to ask me these questions and i give them the best answer that i can i watch the same movie about 5 times in a row then i get to see things that i did not see befor see what happens is that the first time you see a movie is you only see the main plot of the movie after about 5 times you have anywhere between 3-7 plots that go on in a movie this movie has around that i saw

      1. Trying to find his brothers murder
      2. finding the 1st werewolf
      3. the hunt for the werewolf
      4. the “mental home” “theres nothing wrong”
      5. The love story
      6. the wolf on wolf hunt
      7. the hunt for the cure
      8. the epice chace
      9. the final blow “the tradic love murder”

      now these are what i am calling the plots and i got 9 after watching it 5 times now you must know that everyone will get a differnt view on the movie

      o i did not mention this the Cane is the cure it said it at the start of the movie metafoicaly speeking if you look close at it you will see it shifting back in to human form this is a sign that it is a cure and it is not silver that i know it said nothing about it being silver people just though it was because of it being a werewolf movie all he had to do was stab the hart of the werewolf

      Thanks for you time and for reading this please respond to this and tell me if you have anymore views on this that can counterdict me i would greatly find it a help to how i make some money i do wright reviewss for papers and sell them to them as well as other stories. email me back your thoughts then viset my blog page and cheeck out my work

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