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The Wolfman (2010) Movie Review

February 12, 2010

“The Wolfman” is a movie that could have been a glorious return to form for horror movies.  While it did away with the excessive gore that has become a crutch for many, and uses traditional makeup effects instead of CGI and has a delightfully classical score, it fails to transform the genre.  The story is quite typical of the period horror flick.  Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) comes home when he receives a letter telling him of the tragic death of his brother.  As soon as he arrives home, he begins an investigation into his brother’s death.

The strange rumors lead him to a Gypsy caravan because everyone in the town thinks the Gypsies are to blame.  It isn’t long, however, before Lawrence is bitten by the werewolf that has been ravaging the village, drastically shifting the film’s direction.  Soon after, an inspector from Scotland Yard shows up, played by Hugo Weaving.  The inspector believes there is an explanation for all that has happened and is intent on figuring it all out.  Other actors you may recognize include Anthony Hopkins, who plays Lawrence’s father, and Emily Blunt, who plays the grieving girlfriend of Lawrence’s dead brother.

Sadly, despite what may otherwise be seen as a solid cast, the actors don’t seem to care about their roles.  Hugo Weaving doesn’t do much to distinguish his role as an inspector from his role as Mr. Smith in “The Matrix” and his facial expression is almost always the same.  Emily Blunt, I am convinced, simply can’t act so I am not so surprised at her lack of emotion in her role.  However Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins are both talented actors who could do much better if they put their minds to it.  The acting makes most of the slower dialogue-filled scenes quite boring, leaving the action scenes as the only exciting part.

On the other hand, Danny Elfman’s orchestral score is nothing short of astounding.  The dark orchestral work is driven heavily by strings and horns with the occasional subtly used choir.  The score is heads and shoulders above anything I’ve heard from a Hollywood soundtrack in the last couple of years.  Thankfully the once-rejected score is allowed to shine in all its majesty.

The film shines in the action scenes and anything revolving around a werewolf.  The transformation sequences and look of the werewolves is all done using traditional makeup effects.  This goes a long way towards making the action exciting.  If you are able to ignore some bad acting and lacking storyline, you will find a fun creature flick that has some well done moments.  I certainly won’t be watching the movie a second time but I will be buying the soundtrack when it is released on February 23rd by Varese Sarabande.

3.5/5

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From → Drama, Historical, Horror

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