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The Company of Wolves
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Company of Wolves More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely wonderful surrealistic wolf dream.

Author: Craig Carrington from San Francisco, CA
17 July 2002

This is one of those films that you either love or hate.

Depending on your personal taste, you will be either captivated by it or thoroughly bored. I happen to fit into the first category.

I must admit to having seen its video box for years and was completely turned off by it. I had been thinking, "Oh yuck, another 'gross out' werewolf movie."

So after discovering by accident what this movie was truly about (in the margin of a child's fairy tale book in my local Barnes and Noble!!!), I thought "I've got to see this."

And it wasn't easy to find.

But once I did, I was genuinely enthralled by the gorgeous and lovingly detailed backgrounds, the remarkable script and imagery. Think of this as "Little Red Riding Hood" goes "Eraserhead".

A thoroughly weird but wonderful little film that belongs in a secret classification all its own (along with such brilliant projects as "Head", "Eraserhead", "The Blair Witch Project" and the original "Haunting", to name a few) in which surrealistic suggestions, your brain and the power of your imagination rule the night.

In short, if you're looking for a run-of-the-mill 80s slasher flick then this movie is definitely NOT for you. If, on the other hand, you want to see a wonderful dark take on a traditional fairy tale then you will have a hard time making a better choice than this one!

One small note I wish to add: if you know about and/or raise real wolves like I do, you might find the scenes with them chasing others through the forest and bursting through the walls more funny than frightening. I say this because you know perfectly well how shy and gentle real wolves are, how completely opposite they are from European tradition as flesh and blood devils. But even so, you will enjoy watching those scenes anyway simply because its still fun to watch the cinematography of those gorgeous, fluffy little wolves running about all over the place with those huge smiles on their faces (they're obviously in a great mood and don't look the least bit vicious--I don't think I ever saw one of them actually snarl anywhere, just howl and smile).

Oh, and the "He Wolf" who ends up beating our red-hooded heroine home gives a genuinely stunning (but brief) performance. He's both disturbing and amusing to watch. He snarls. He writhes. He tempts and glares in the most sinister of ways, and he even sticks his tounge out to lick himself all over his own face doggy-style in ways that even Gene Simmons would envy----here's hoping the actor went on to receive acclaim in his career!

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Classic werewolf drama could be better.

6/10
Author: Jason C. Atwood from Suffolk, Virginia
22 December 1998

Okay, so I liked this one better than THE BEAST MUST DIE. It does have some nice dark, crisp visuals and a sense of scary illusions that any author of 18th-century novels would have been famous for. One humongous detail I must gripe about, though. Those "man-to-wolf" transformations look horrible. They appeared as if a taxidermist was involved in studio props, making this ruiningly unrealistic. Angela Lansbury offers a fine performance as an old woman telling the wolf story to the young girl (LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, anyone?). Feeling more as a "family" drama than a blood-curled horror film, it looks like it's suitable for just about everybody, which would make better sense. An ugly face tearing scene unfortunately gave it the "R" rating (and why??). Less focus on cheap special effects could've made THE COMPANY OF WOLVES worth a perfectly pleasant and chilling night beside the fire. Still not too bad, though.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

fairytale for adults

10/10
Author: utkueser1980 from Turkey
31 May 2009

electrifying,disturbing yet beautiful.OK, there are fantasy movies made recently , and sure lots of special effects and all are made wonderfully but they lack something that company of wolves have at max...imagination...

this movie so clever and dreamy at the same time. you feel like you enter a world of childhood dreams yet so scary. it is not a typical werewolf movie, not that i hate werewolf movies but this masterpiece( definitely!) has a lot to offer.

for those of you that had a lot nightmares during your childhood years will enjoy ultimately but anyone who has read or listened little red riding hood will feel joy and fear at the same time.

i really don't want to give any plot details more than i wrote above , it is clear that you can never define your nightmare correctly to other people. and yes, there are beautiful nightmares if you look into them deeply.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Hypnotic dream-logic film: A classic Jordan film[Some Spoilers]

8/10
Author: tmensamaster-2 from Calgary, Alberta
17 October 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Neil Jordan is known by most of his fans as someone who makes dark films that sometimes like to mix hidden eroticism into their plots[witness 'The Crying Game' and 'Interview with a Vampire']. 'The Company of Wolves' though, is probably the most obvious example in his entire work. Jordan himself describes the film as a 'menstrual film' as it is really about a young girl's sexual awakening. Beware horror fans, this isn't just another gory werewolf flick.

Rosaline[Sarah Patterson]is a young girl of thirteen or fourteen living in a village in a forest that looks like it was designed by H.R. Giger.Her grandmother[Angela Lansbury] passes on fables and 'moral' stories to her granddaughter to teach her 'The laws of the wood.'Some of these stories speak of men whose 'eyebrows meet in the middle' and often turn into wolves. The film itself encompases these stories and they make up quite a large amount of the film. The stories are used to explain, in a subliminal manner, what is going on in the main story. Most of the stories have some sort of sexual undertone and flesh out the sexuality in the main story as Rosaline starts to hang around with a boy in the village[with an especially high-pitched voice]. A wolf begins to haunt the village and kills some of the cattle while Rosaline embarks on a journey through the woods to visit her grandmother...

The movie makes obvious references to 'Little Red Riding Hood': Rosaline wears a bright-red hood, she is walking through the woods to visit her grandmother, she meets a huntsmen in the woods whose eyebrows meet in the middle....The film is an example of what would happen if you added eroticism to 'Little Red Riding Hood' and made it 'R-Rated'. The wolf is really just a metaphor for her sexual awakening. The boy's high-pitched voice, and, for lack of a better word, 'randy' libido are a metaphor for 'The Lawlessnesws of men'' and the woods have a very sexual design, with womb-like portals and potholes. At the end, when Rosaline joins the 'Company of Wolves', it is like her acceptance of her sexuality. All this sensuality is mixed with very hypnotic atmosphere and visuals. The film is like a journey through puberty...

The first time I watched this film, I didn't like it. I thought it was muddled and didn't make sense. I caught it again on late-night t.v. I was captured in it's spell and surprisingly, even though the ending still wasn't crystal clear, I liked it. I think it is very hypnotic and the ways the stories are told are spellbinding. I especially like the last one:''Out of the depths of the earth, a she-wolf came...'' Jordan is now one of my favorite directors and I look forward when he returns to this territory.

''And that's all I'll tell you, because that's all I know.....''









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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Never before have I seen such deep a horror film!

10/10
Author: alexis_240 from Greece
13 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What am I doing giving a horror film 10/10. I must be out of my mind. Well if you thought that, you couldn't be more wrong. Just watch the film if you haven't already done so. This is no ordinary horror film. In fact it's not a horror film, it's an allegory, it's the British "Seventh seal". The seventh seal is an allegory about man's search for the meaning of life and his continuous preoccupation with questions there is no way (at least from my angle) he can answer, the company of wolves is about realizing who you are, your sexuality, your desires and most importantly the transition from adolescence to adulthood or the "end of innocence".

Every bit of the movie is a symbol and to be precise, a Freudian symbol. The Freudian concept of unconscious motives is evident throughout the film. Rosaleen's large toys in the forest represent her innocence and a desire to remain that way, in other words the desire to regress back to the safe period of childhood, and not be an adult with urges.

Rosaleen's red cloak might seem like little red riding hood, and it is true it's taken from there but in this case it represents menstruation and not being a girl anymore but a woman. When the eggs hatch up on the birds nest, Rosalyn becomes acquainted for the first time with birth and the creation of life. The replacement of bird babies with human figurines is ingenious.

Finally the menacing wolves represent men and their domineering nature and predatory desire which Rosaleen will have to deal with now that she is a woman and a powerful creature herself. Therefore by fully developing into a sexual being she becomes a beast herself and that's what we are shown by her turning into a wolf.

All this is integrated brilliantly into the film ending with the wolves knocking down her toys thus ruining childhood. That's a thing of the past. Time passes inevitably as the clock shows us and it is time to change.

God bless Neil Jordan and Angela Carter for bringing this masterpiece to the big screen. If you haven't seen it I suggest you do so and even if you have watch it again! Just to remind yourselves what it was like making good movies. Remember "Never stray from the path!".

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

This is not a horror-movie.

5/10
Author: calculo
17 August 2002

This movie is not realistic enough to be of good horror. The life in the village in the woods does not give a background for the story-telling. You don't have the folk-loric atmosphere of Grimm or the Irish or Flemish tales. The wolve-men are in between the humans and the beast and do not frighten us. The scene with the banquet is ridiculous. The young girl (Sarah Patterson) is good but I don't like her position, does she like the wolves or not. How her grandmother (Angela Lansbury) is killed is not believable. The fairy-tale of Angela Carter is not brought well, and the live in the wood with the animals is not frightening at all. Give me an old fairy-tale!

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

My grandma, what a big unibrow you have... (spoilers)

3/10
Author: Pepper Anne from Orlando, Florida
8 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Company of Wolves is not one of the better werewolf horrors I have seen, and certainly not the worst, but falls somewhere in between. The movie is a very cheap British horror movie borrowing on several of the old fairy tales (i.e. Little Red Riding Hood, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, etc) to illustrate stories told by a grandmother (Angela Lansbury) to her last surviving teen granddaughter. The dialogue is more like prose rather than a regular story of demons living in the woods preying on the villagers and such, though werewolf movie fans may appreciate the originality and some of the special effects (the initial transformation scenes are great), if nothing else.

The movie is told through a sequence of stories that grandmother tells her granddaughter. Things like how the werewolves are identified, tales of women unknowingly marrying them, and so forth. Stories that the granddaughter takes to heart as she experiences similar courtships, first with the idiotic blacksmith boy, and then moving on to a scene in the woods where she is wooed by a stranger. The ultimate question: does she give in to the wolves? It is more like Old English literature, so there is a particular audience for this movie.

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24 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Visually compelling fantasy - with werewolves!

8/10
Author: ThrownMuse from The land of the Bunyips
26 April 2005

Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) is a teenage girl experiencing menarche, asleep and dreaming in her bed all day. She dreams of being a medieval peasant girl who spends most of her time with her Granny (Angela Lansbury), listening to her tell precautionary fairy tales about werewolves. Most of the "The Company of Wolves" takes place in Rosaleen's dreamworld, and what a fantasy world it is! The best scene in the movie takes place at the beginning, where her sister is running around the woods, being attacked by giant toys and wolves. At times it plays like a children's' movie, but this ain't Little Red Riding Hood! It is rich in sexual metaphors, and it features one of the coolest (and nastiest!) werewolf transformation scenes I've seen. The acting is stellar, the atmosphere is creepy, and the visuals are startling and surreal. Recommended to all fans of fantasies and for a different kind of werewolf movie.

My Rating: 8/10.

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24 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Magical, captivating.

10/10
Author: snowgrouse from Finland
16 March 2002

A beautiful adaptation of Angela Carter's sublime work. This film has all the otherworldliness and the horror of traditional fairy tales; at the same time we are transported to a mythic realm but somewhere deep inside we recognize we are within the human psyche itself. This is a story, or several stories woven together, of a girl's slow transformation into a woman, of sexual initiation and the fear of adulthood and responsibility veiled in metaphors of fairy tales, narrated in a captivating, dreamlike fashion. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous movie, I highly recommend it to any lover of fairy tales and fantasy.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Interesting take on werewolf lore.

7/10
Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
24 May 2014

This appropriately moody looking film from co-writer / director Neil Jordan is good entertainment, a combination of horror and fairy tale that plays up the sexual angle in its exploration of the werewolf myth. It's true enough that the film is murky, but that fits the material; Jordan avoids a lot of bright colours and his crew give this an excellent period feel. (This only helps to make the red shawl worn by our heroine to really stand out.) The acting is solid, and overall "The Company of Wolves" benefits from its theme of there being more to "wolves" than meets the eye. Of course, this also ties into the time honoured idea of the beast inside man.

The film encompasses several tales, all of them either told by kindly Granny (Angela Lansbury) or her granddaughter Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson), and supposedly all of them are contained within Rosaleens' dreams. They range from a groom (Stephen Rea) having a surprise in store for his new bride (Kathryn Pogson) to a young man receiving some sort of magical potion from a stranger (Terence Stamp, in an uncredited cameo) to a village that traps a wolf whose paw transforms into a human hand.

Enhanced by Bryan Loftus's lighting and the music of George Fenton, "The Company of Wolves" is deliberately paced but full of atmosphere; one does feel like they are being transported to another time and place. It's also full of creepy imagery, and Christopher Tucker contributes makeup and transformation effects that may not quite measure up to what Rick Baker and Rob Bottin devised for their respective werewolf classics ("An American Werewolf in London", "The Howling"), but are striking nevertheless. The dialogue created by Angela Carter has a very literate quality. The cast - ever delightful Lansbury, Rea, David Warner, Graham Crowden, Brian Glover, Danielle Dax, Jim Carter - does creditable work, with young Patterson convincingly essaying an essential innocence.

This film remains somewhat forgotten today, having come in the wake of those aforementioned werewolf pictures, so for lovers of the sub genre, it should be worth their while to discover it.

Seven out of 10.

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