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The Company of Wolves
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The Company of Wolves More at IMDbPro »

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70 out of 105 people found the following review useful:

Excellent take on werewolf folklore

Author: Noel (Teknofobe70) from Bromsgrove, England
1 May 2005

Let's all thank god for Neil Jordan. Not only did he bring Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire to the screen in an uncompromising, superb adaptation, but way back at the start of his career he also brought us this mini-masterpiece about werewolves.

The setup is simple. A teenage girl in a country manor falls asleep while reading a magazine (with a cover story entitled "the shattered dream" -- a subtle hint to some of the themes of this movie), and she has a disturbing dream involving wolves which appears to take place in the woods visible from her bedroom window. It begins with a girl being chased down by a pack of wolves and killed, then we move to her funeral and discover she had a sister. The sister is your typical inquisitive girl just blossoming into womanhood, and her wise old grandmother tells her stories about men changing into wolves, with the message that all men are beasts. These stories make the girl uncomfortable about the advances of a local boy, and later a charming nobleman, and her perceptions of her parent's love life don't help. As the town becomes more and more terrified by the danger of wolf attacks, they begin to unearth evidence that there are in fact werewolves out in the woods. These findings and her own active imagination lead the girl to come up with her own werewolf stories. And when she is sent out through the woods with a red cloak and basket to visit her grandmother, you just know that there's going to be trouble ...

The Company of Wolves is a well-made, smart and highly original piece of work, and it is this movie that got Irish director Neil Jordan noticed internationally. The surreal, dream-like atmosphere of the movie is both superb and engaging, and the metaphorical nature of the movie is reasonably subtle. It is about a young girl's coming-of-age, trying to decide whether or not all men are in fact beasts when she still isn't quite sure exactly what they want from her.

Generally, werewolf movies made by European film-makers tend to have more substance and more familiarity with actual werewolf folklore -- it is part of our history after all, while Hollywood has had to create it's own werewolf myth over the years. This is probably the best British werewolf movie, followed by Dog Soldiers and Curse of the Werewolf, but even American classics like The Wolf Man and of course An American Werewolf in London, had to be set in Britain.

The lead role is played by Sarah Patterson, a young girl in her debut role at just 12 years old. After this she only appeared in one more movie (Snow White, also in the Canon Movie Tales series) then for some reason gave up on movie acting. She would certainly have had a successful career after this, you would think. The supporting actors also do good jobs, particularly Micha Bergese as the huntsman and Angela Lansbury as the creative grandmother. Other well-known names appear here in smaller roles, including Brian Glover (the yorkshireman from American Werewolf), David Warner, Stephen Rea and Terence Stamp.

It currently ranks as one of my all-time favourite werewolf movies, and I expect it to grow on me even more over time. I can recommend this without any reservation.

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33 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

For fans of the weird and lovers of the pre-CGI era, this is a rare treat

Author: gogoschka-1 from wherever good films play
11 January 2014

What a weird fairy tale: director Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) seems to have had the intention of taking a Freudian approach to the story of 'Little Red Riding Hood'. The result is an almost surreal collection of stories about rather testosterone driven werewolves, who all have a little more on their minds than 'just' to kill. If you like old school practical effects and transformations, this film has 'em by the truck load (although they do seem a little dated by now). Not everything works in this strange tale; the mix of sexual symbolism, poetic beauty and gory horror moments seems a bit forced at times - but when it does work it's utterly fascinating. For fans of the weird and lovers of the pre-CGI era, this is a rare treat. 7 out of 10.

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61 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

The most original werewolf movie you'll ever see

Author: CountVladDracula from United States
4 January 2005

The Company of wolves is a very unique film that has to be watched with an open mind. It's a very surreal fantasy-horror story all of which takes place within the mind of a sleeping adolescent girl. Each story is filled with beautifully done metaphors and similes in which the werewolves represent puberty, sexuality, masculinity, and sexual awakening though there is no actual sex in the entire movie. It's very beautifully done. And even if you don't like symbolism and faery-tale style movies the werewolf transformations are quite unnerving and the stories the grandmother tells rosaleen (which are acted out as short stories in the movie) are rather chilling. This is the most original werewolf movie you will ever come across. There has never been or will there ever be again anything quite like it.

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45 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

A movie that is far more than meets the eye.

Author: zzoaozz from United States
7 August 1999

This movie is a commentary on the passage from innocence to adulthood and the life we throw away as we make that transition. It is series of dream sequences that cover the many ways a man becomes a werewolf while the primary story line is moody reworking of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. The movie itself is very complex and not for those looking for a straight horror movie or a fantasy love story. It puts forth the premise that childhood must end, and we must all in time give in to the animal within. The ending is one that comes as a surprise and a shock to most viewers. The transformation scenes are some of the most incredible in the history of werewolf movies. Those who view this movie will either walk away confused or find themselves changed in some subtle way. It tends to be a bit hard to find in the video stores, but it is more than worth the trouble of searching.

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36 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Dreaming of wolves

Author: Leonard Shelby from Asturias, Spain
22 February 2001

The company of wolves is very far from being the typical movie about werewolves, it's very different from films such as An American Werewolf in London or The Howling. This film is full of symbolism, it's a kind of rewriting of Perrault's Little Red Ridding Hood with Freudian elements. The film was directed by Neil Jordan, but in it we can notice the writing of Angela Carter, an author who is mainly interested in rewriting folklore myths from a feminist point of view. If you see this film you will enter a world of magic, of dreams, not only by means of the script, but also by the settings, which are really wonderful. The film itself deals with the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence, with all its sexual connotations, and the loss of innocence. When we become adults we realize life is not a magic tale. All this is treated from a feminist point of view, the main character is a girl who dreams about several stories with werewolves. Visually the movie is incredible, and it manages to reflect the symbolism of woods, the mixture of light and darkness, the magic creatures which live there during the night and the dangerous inside them especially for the girls who don't follow the path. From my point of view the film is one of the best dealing with the myth of werewolves, mainly because the film is a metaphor of life, of the human specie, all of us have an animal inside.

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26 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

"Never Stray From the Path, Never Eat a Windfall Apple, and Never Trust a Man Whose Eyebrows Meet." – An Adult and Stylized Version of Little Red Riding Hood

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4 March 2004

Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) is a teenager, living in a country house in England with her family in the present days, and having a nightmare with wolves and werewolves in the Middle Ages. In her dream, her boring sister is dead, she lives with her father (David Warner) and her mother (Tusse Silberg), but she spends lots of time with her lovely grandmother (Angela Lansbury). Granny tells her many stories of werewolf and gives her the following advice: "- Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple, and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet." One day, Rosaleen, while going to visit her grandmother, meets a handsome man and bet with him who would arrive first at her granny's house. The story has an open end. The first time I watched this movie was in 1984 or 1985 in a imported VHS of a Brazilian video-club, and I liked it a lot. This video-club closed and unfortunately, this film has not been available in Brazil since then. Yesterday it was released on DVD and I immediately bought it. I have just saw it and I really can say that it is an excellent movie. The story is based on the fairy tale of the Little Red Riding Hood. Indeed it is an adult and stylized version of the tale. But further than that, it is also a spectacular approach of the beginning of the puberty, losing of the innocence through wild and erotic dreams, when the character of Sarah Patterson is becoming an young woman. Neil Jordan made an excellent work, with a wonderful horror movie, which can have the most different interpretations, depending on the eye and experience of the viewer. He used many symbols, such as the use of lipstick, or the first date of Rosaleen. I do not understand what happened to the gorgeous and very promising actress Sarah Patterson. With her interpretation in this film, I would bet she would have a great career ahead, what has never come true. This film is really a cult-movie, and I am one of its greatest fan. I would like to thank the Brazilian distributor Flashstar, for giving me the chance of see this wonderful movie again. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): `A Companhia dos Lobos' (`The Company of the Wolves')

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes bleak, sometimes hopeful, always stunning

Author: Paradox-Pandorabox
25 February 2016

It's very atmospheric and there is vivid imagery, but the characters for me were more like storybook characters. Not very three-dimensional and sorta blended into the background of this world. They served a purpose but Rosaleen was clearly the star of the story. This is a movie I'd recommend if you're in the mood for something quiet, mysterious and subtly tragic. It's very memorable even if the story itself takes on a totally different direction than what you'd expect from this well known tale. The soundtrack really brings out the mood and feeling of it all. The cast was chosen wisely. I don't necessarily look at this movie as a werewolf tale so much as it's more about the girl. The wolves are the base of the storyline but their emotional impact is somewhat reserved for the latter part of the movie. Which I felt should have been focused more upon. We met two men and a woman in this story who are werewolves, but never have too much of a chance to really get to know them too well. Which I think was this film's biggest weakness.

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What the actual heck

Author: Emily Duff
21 May 2017

This movie is the most bizarre thing ever. Despite having a budget of 2 million (where did that go) it looks like it was filmed on a hand-held camera built by a 10 year old for his science fair project that is powered by potatoes. The acting is awful too, not believable and with these weird scenes with bad voiceovers that are just painfully bad. The ending is laughably bad- not scary, not shocking, not some sort of plot twist, just one of those scenes where you are left asking 'Why?' And let me tell you, there are a lot of scenes like that in this movie. The main actresses brooding/ naive combination is jarring and fake, and her acting while she's sleeping and having a nightmare is basically just a bad movie trope come to life. There is no chemistry between any of the characters and the relationships seem forced and unreal. The only ray of hope in the movie is Angela Lansbury, but even she is drowned in a sea of bad lines. There's a scene with a young bride and her husband, and the bride has this freaky wide eyed, boggle-y thing going on that just makes her (bad) acting automatically worse. It seems the actors don't know how to express emotions, so they just widen their eyes in an attempt to seem eerie and abject, when really it just makes them look like idiots trying to be creepy. Watch this movie only if you want a laugh, coz it is not scary, nor is it well made.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Haunting, very unique fantasy horror

Author: NateWatchesCoolMovies from Canada
2 July 2015

Neil Jordan's The Company Of Wolves is a long lost horror fantasy classic, a eerie, dreamy take on little red riding hood with a cautionary message about the dangers that blossoming young girls are at risk from at the hands of men. In a dark, drafty mansion, a 14 year old girl (Sarah Patterson) tosses and turns amidst a nightmare. In her nocturnal wanderings we see her as a forest dwelling girl who lives deep in the heart of the woods with her family. Surrounding them is shadowy magic, strange creatures, and an ever present pack of pursuing wolves. As you might expect, she is tasked to journey out into the forest to her grandmother's house. There she is beset with the dangers of a wolf who hides in the skin of a man, a metaphor for the way older men pretend to be something they are not to prey on younger girls. Despite its fantasy setting, the film retains a very mature, grounded look at the risks of trusting someone you've just met, and wrestles with the ideas of how to handle educating our daughters on the dangers that young girls have to be aware of, especially in our modern world as well. It's also a gorgeously produced film. Jordan and team lovingly create a realistic yet dreamy, haunted forest atmosphere, with some truly outstanding practical effects that have to be seen to be believed. The gooey, glistening skinless wolf emerging from a man's naked body is definitely hard to forget, and the little birds eggs that produce tiny humanoid babies are phenomenally well done. Jordan, always a genius with merging together his themes with the atmosphere of the film, uses the primal fears and nightmarish ghouls on the fringes of our awareness to evoke a very real existential dread, spurred by both his visual and intellectual aspects of the film. He is a genius in my mind, one of the last of the finest. Sarah Patterson is a graceful wonder in her breakout role, and Angela Lansbury is great as her old granny. Look out for an awesome cameo from Terence Stamp as the man himself, Lucifer. This is my favourite rendition of little red riding hood because it doesn't fit into any conventional zone and strives to bring us something beautiful and different.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

not your typical werewolf fable

Author: Michael Neumann from United States
12 November 2010

This odd, adult fairy tale was all but thrown away when first released, and perhaps not without reason. The dark, dreamlike blend of magic, mysticism, and psycho-Freudian symbolism must have totally confounded the marketing team who (out of frustration?) chose to present it as a horror film in the same vein as 'An American Werewolf in London' or 'The Howling'. The story is set in a strange, Arcadian forest apparently deep inside the dreams of a sleeping young girl on the brink of womanhood, who conjures up a facsimile Little Red Riding Hood, warned by her wise old grandmother to beware of those wolves that are "hairy on the inside". Aside from one or two distracting but visceral werewolf transformation scenes the film is an imaginative and unique reflection on the origins of fable, admittedly not for all tastes.

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