Wolfman: Back to the Classics

Leaving fear in the eyes of those lucky enough to escape, but plaguing the lives of those bitten.  It is an inescapable curse, afflicted by an incredulous desire to feed.  Every full moon, they are tormented by a ghastly transfiguration. Being half beast and half man, a gypsy once said, “Where does one begin and the other end?”

This Valentine’s weekend, the infamous werewolf legend came to life on screen.  Director Joe Johnston and makeup artist Rick Baker teamed together to make a rendition of the 1941 classic horror film, The Wolfman.

Set in 1891, Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman that is beckoned back to his ancestral home to discover the cause of his brother’s disappearance.  Reunited with his estranged and reclusive father, played by Anthony Hopkins, Talbot begins to discover much more than he anticipated.

After witnessing his mother’s death as a child, Talbot left the estate in Blackmoor, England and grew up in America, attempting to erase the horrific memories of his past.  That is, until he received a letter from his brother’s fianceé Gwen Concliffe (Emily Blunt) urging him to come home to look for his missing brother.  Upon his return, Talbot learned that there had been some sort of blood-thirsty animal roaming around taking the lives of villagers and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving) was on the case.  As Talbot pieced together the puzzle of his missing brother, he heard a tale from a gypsy woman about an ancient curse that turned the afflicted into werewolves when the moon was full.  Talbot decided that, in order to end the slaughtering and protect the lady he had come to love, he would have to destroy the insatiable, murderous monster in the woods of Blackmoor.  But as he searched for the nightmarish creature, the hunter became hunted; a simple nobleman discovered his inner beast.

Wolfman is not like many of the modern horror films today.  Viewers can stomach this movie.  It has a classic, gothic, horror aesthetic to it. Although there was blood and violence, it was not over played.  The movie did not rely solely upon spilled guts and special effects.  The recreated Wolfman used much of the original movie, such as the scenery shots of Talbot hiding in a tunnel staring up at the London Bridge, or Talbot jumping from roof to roof, howling at the moon.

What makes this movie so interesting though, besides the break from the recent vampire trend, is that it blends the original flow of thought and mythology of the 1941 Wolfman with 21st century graphics.  Despite, the occasional fast editing and the racing pace to the finale of the movie, Wolfman is commendable.  Even if someone watching this movie were not into werewolves, if they appreciate horror films, they would most likely enjoy Wolfman.