The Wolfman - Review


"Why so serious?" would be an excellent question to direct at the makers of "The Wolfman," a high-toned, bloody but otherwise bloodless effort to resurrect one of Universal's venerable horror franchises for modern times. Approaching the matted-haired genre with a straight-faced studiousness befitting a bigscreen version of the Dead Sea Scrolls, director Joe Johnston & Co. know how to startle with innumerable shock cuts but don't know how to build tension and intrigue, or how to approach the job with a sense of fun and relish. Long-delayed and reworked Oedipal take on the lycanthropic condition should take a meaty opening-weekend B.O. bite, but long-term prospects will certainly fall short of what must have been imagined when the project was launched.


"You've done terrible things," Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins) informs his son Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro) the morning after the latter has transformed into a vicious beast for the first time and notably reduced the population of late Victorian England. Well, he's not the only one, in a tale that scripters Andrew Kevin Walker ("Seven") and David Self ("Road to Perdition") seem to intend as the "Hamlet" of werewolf movies, given the woe that befalls multiple generations of the Talbot family and the torment suffered by the hair … er, heir apparent.


Lo and behold, Lawrence is a vaguely American-accented actor who is actually playing the brooding Dane on the British boards when he's called home to the village of Blackmoor upon the death of his older brother from "unnatural wounds." Having fled to the U.S. as a boy after his mother's violent demise, Lawrence should well understand his father's warning that, "the past is a wilderness of horrors," but decides not to heed it when his brother's high-calorie cupcake of a fiancee, Gwen (Emily Blunt), wants to know what really happened to her beau.


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