Plot-in-a-nutshell: It’s a werewolf film. What more do you need? Look at the flipping title!
Benicio del Toro plays a young (ish – he’s starting to get a bit wrinkly) man, summoned back to England from America when his brother’s body is found dead in a ditch. Rumours abound that the killing was done by a wild beast, the third in recent months. Blame falls partly on a group of gypsies (it’s not politically incorrect if it’s the 19th century) and then on the Talbot family.
The film has all you need for a romp of that era: pitchfork wielding locals, a screaming priest, a policeman from London town (Hugo Weaving – superb) who doesn’t fit in with the country folk… I also have to mention Anthony Hopkins just because he’s fantastic.
Oh, and great effects. American Werewolf in London can still hold its head high for the makeup and animatronics they used, but The Wolfman is the modern equivalent. The transformations are seemless and bloody, suitably horrific.
Some of the images that stick in the mind really hark back to the old Universal films, such as the werewolf clad in torn period clothing. A real homage without being a simple remake.
There’s a good mixture of tense, jumpy moments with outright hack and slash horror, too. It’s a fairly simple story, well told and fitting its running length perfectly.
If you like a “proper” horror movie, then this is definitely recommended.