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An artist in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film, which takes place on a windy island. During "the hour of the wolf" - between midnight and dawn - he tells his wife about his most painful memories. Written by
Fredrik Klasson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The Hour of the Wolf" is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful.
Ingmar Bergman originally penned the script in 1964 under the title "The Cannibals". A serious bout of pneumonia led him to reconsider the project whilst lying in hospital; he deemed it to be potentially too expensive in concept and execution. Bergman revised the script idea into a more low budget piece to accompany Persona. See more »
A Bergman vampire movie, but without any vampires- pure, Gothic chills
Much like F.W. Murnau, or even David Lynch for that matter, Ingmar Bergman can create horror in a film, such as his rarity in the genre of Hour of the Wolf (no, no werewolves boys and girls, the title refers to something else entirely regarding the middle of the night), by imposing images that are so unbelievable as to either frighten or annoy. Bergman is no stranger to the surreal (Persona his most notorious feat, but surrealism lurks in many Bergman works), and Hour of the Wolf displays his skills at it with a precision that is un-canny. We're given a couple of characters thrust (not entirely by accident) into a strange atmosphere of people, locations, shadows, the night. And with this film, the audience is given images and scenes that are very new, even for a modern audience, but most of the film brings one back to the most chilling of the silent-film horror classics. But that's not to say this is a relatively accessible Bergman film, unless you are very much into the genre.
Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman give strong performances as a couple (one an artist the other his pregnant wife) who arrive on an island to have some peace, where he can get some work done. But this is not the case as Von Sydow's character goes through a kind of deconstruction in the night- he can't sleep, he's shaken to intense uncomfort by neighbors, and a particular memory haunts him all the time (and once Bergman shows what it is, it becomes one of the most horrifying scenes I may have ever seen). If there is a climax to the film it's difficult to discern- the only flaw I had with the film, that sometimes it's almost TOO bizarre- however what leads up to it is a skillful work at experimental theatricality. Everything seems real enough to draw the audience in, and everything seems un-real enough for the audience to be disconnected enough to understand the surreal nature. To put it another way, it's a good film to scare the hell out of you as a midnight movie.
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