The Wolfman (2010) review

The Wolfman (2010)

The first question I ask myself when watching a remake/reboot is “what’s the purpose?” Does it approach the story in a way different than the original, improve any glaring faults or shortcomings, or change the setting to something more modern? Unfortunately The Wolfman not only accomplishes none of these, it’s also devoid of the original’s excellent atmosphere and suspense. Instead, adding only an obscene amount of gore and disappointingly mediocre CGI/makeup (considering its $85M budget).

The film, in keeping with the original, follows Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) as he returns to his home after the disappearance/death of his brother. Soon after arriving, he is attacked and bitten by a werewolf and begins exhibiting the classic signs of being cursed by a werewolf. After making a miraculously swift recovery, the townsfolk grow weary of Talbot believing he is the beast and form a mob to hunt him. However, the remake begins to differ with the handling of the Talbot family playing a more prominent role than in the 1941 film.

The most disappointing aspect of the remake is that it’s just not scary. Surprising, considering that it’s supposed to be a horror/monster film. There is an utter lack of dread or uneasiness throughout and not even a single, cheap “boo” moment (that I remember). It’s almost more successful at being an action film, with some decent chase sequences and a climactic werewolf vs werewolf battle. Also lacking, is the memorable, or “iconic,” scene/shot which was prominent in all of the classic Universal monster films. Here, even the CGI heavy werewolf transformation scenes are cheesy and easily forgettable.

Casting Del Toro saved an estimated $5M in unnecessary werewolf makeup

One bright spot however, is the casting. Benicio Del Toro is suitable as the titular character, not only bearing resemblance to Lon Chaney Jr but also a werewolf. Anthony Hopkins does well as Talbot Sr, hamming it up just enough without going overboard. Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving are solid, as expected, in limited roles as the love interest and Inspector. They’re both mostly used to further the plot as neither character is considerably developed. Particularly Blunt’s character, who is criminally underused. A better developed relationship between her and Talbot could have added a new dynamic and made the ending all the more sorrowful.

Although “The Wolfman” is not a horrible film by any means, it fails to deliver as a horror film, doesn’t improve upon its predecessor, or offer any reason to justify its production (other than monetary). I was very excited about seeing this remake as it was one of the few classic monster films yet to receive a modern update. While watching, I kept waiting for the expected “big scare” or attempt at an “iconic” scene. When the end credits began rolling, I was still waiting.

Disappointed.

5/10

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About sebastianhaff
I'm Steve. 24 year old recent college grad. My love of films (and sheer boredom) lead me to begin this blog. My taste in movies is eclectic, although I tend to lean toward foreign and non-mainstream cinema. Feel free to contact me at: sebastianhaff@ymail.com

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