A half way decent homage to the classic monster movies that holds a lot of atmosphere, even if it doesn’t hold its characters highly enough.
Upon the death of his brother, Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro) travels back home to uncover the mysterious circumstances around the murder. His father (Anthony Hopkins) and old flame Gwen (Emily Blunt) support him as best they can, but when his investigation leads him to be salvaged by some sort of beast, Lawrence’s life is about to change.
Something of an homage to the classic monster movies (I’ve not seen the original Wolfman, apologies!) this film is lovingly set in the period, stooped in shadows, musty houses and a score by Danny Elfman. Many of the effects are impressive (despite the transformations being CG, which is a bit of a shame) the action later on in the film is lavishly blood splattered and extreme. The Wolfman himself is of the classic movie design, more human than wolf.
Unfortunately though, The Wolfman takes a terribly long time to get going; the first act is riddled with uneventful moments and scenes, the film refuses to give us what we are here to see. Normally these films let us relate to the characters, or sympathise, or even have a hope for them during their plight, but sadly I felt very little for any of them. True enough, can you see Anthony Hopkins as Benicio Del Toro’s father?
It is quite predictable too, which adds to the film’s deliberate feet-dragging. We know what’s going to happen, so get on with it. There’s some weird dream and hallucination visuals too mid-way through… I couldn’t decide if they were silly or not.
Hugo Weaving was a pleasant change to the film’s pace, arriving forty minutes in as a detective who had investigated “the Ripper” (interesting connection!)
It has issues, mostly in regards to pacing and a poor focus on character development, but if you can get through the first half, the second half is explosively animated and full of violent gore. It still won’t feel fully satisfying even at the end, but has plenty of moments throughout.