Dir. Joe Johnston. USA. 2010.

Talking Pictures alias







About Us


A revival or re-imagining of one of Universal's Horror staples of the 1930s and 40s; but whereas those films had elements of the fantastical, gothic and were extremely influential due to the outsiders of non-Americans (Whale, Siodmak; foriegners who maybe identified with the monsters as Unknown).
Lon Chaney ('Man of a Thousand Faces') was the original Wolfman and although less well known as Dracula or Frankenstein; the iconic imagery and generic motifs were set firmly in stone - full moon, gypsy curses, long hair transformations, silver bullets.
This 21st century update is seemingly lost in the shuffle; should it be faithful or push the envelope of CGI fantasy and stunts.  It is a tough to reward an audience nowadays which is partly due to the changes of 21st century culture.  Our monsters are more human in this day and age - more sociopathic and psychopathic (Dr. Shipman/Bin Laden) than the cursed and the damned maybe.  Whereas, Dracula is a cultured foriegner and Frankenstein a mere creation of a madman; Wolfman is a typical man transformed - it speaks to us of issues regarding body horror, mutilation and disease - if it were in the hands of a Cronenberg ('The Fly') it may have hit the highest heights.
But a troubled production which led to the original helmer Mark Romanek ('One Hour Photo') dropped out mere days before the start of shooting.  This meant the addition of Joe Johnston - who has previously done good work on 'Jurassic Park 3' and 'Jumanji' - but shows no visual flourishes or any of the gung ho as seen in his previous features.
Benicio Del Toro plays Lawrence Talbot, who returns to his home after a long absence following the disappearance of his brother and the insistence of his fiancee Gwen (Emily Blunt).  There he is re-acquainted with his father, Sir John (Anthony Hopkins).  Del Toro, who also produces, exhibits moments of genuine torture and melancholy as he broods across the moors of England (The film was mostly shot at Pinewood studios).  But as he is producer, therein lies a flaw of the picture; is the film merely a vanity project as a star seeks to take over a franchise, it does not smack of a passion project due to the unattentive and steady directorial hand.  Even the usual flair of Danny Elfman's scores on this occasion sounds like a re-hash of other horror scores from bygone eras.
It is telling that there are two editors, meaning a lot of work must have gone into the post-production of sound and vision - there are senstive and good tricks of light, most notably when Lawrence is attacked in a mixture of fog and stone.  It is the most chilling scene of the film, and it is unfortunate that the film does not contain more thrills but has its fair share of spills when Lawrence goes to London and eventually we descend into a monster mash at the end.
Though there is a teasing leak of a possible sequel, the film has its moments but must be looked as a production that bit off more than it could chew.

Jamie Garwood

Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
Site searchWeb search
   Home | News | Features
    Book Reviews | About Us