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I can't really seem to rate this film in any way. It is basically a
filmed play, all the actors behaving as such and the sets created in
that sort of style. The plot is using Red Riding Hood as a background,
but all dark and adult, to tell a series of stories regarding wolves in
people clothing. The structure is rather that of a dream, with
confusing blending in of characters and icons.
Even if it has scenes one usually associates with horror, like transformations of people into wolves (the first being one of the best and creepy I've ever seen) this is hardly a horror movie. It is more a dark story telling, perhaps akin to what the original Grimm brothers were writing. Elements of sexuality, betrayal, rage, insanity and violence are found throughout the film.
Despite all that, the creepiest character of all seemed to me to be Angela Lansbury's granny. Devious and androphobic, the old woman is happy to use the pretext of caring after a young girl following the girl's sister gruesome murder in order to "educate" her into the ways of the world, where she must never stray from the path or trust strangers. Of course, this had some sense in the context of the movie, but brrrr.. what a spooky character, portrayed perfectly by the veteran actress.
So, was the film good? I guess it was. Was it entertaining? Not really. The sets, the clothing, the storyline and the acting were all meant to create the atmosphere. In that sense it was mostly unique and successful, but I still can't say if I liked it or not.
I'm the only person I know who's actually seen this film, let alone
loved it, so it's nice to be able to share my enthusiasm for this rich
Why do I love this film? Well, let's start at the very beginning. I adore it when a movie's title is open to interpretation and could be taken in any number of differing ways. Is this about wolves in various guises as companions, whether literal or metaphorical, or are they merely playing a role in some elaborate scenario in our personal fabrication of reality? As it turns out, both. This flick is BIG on the symbolism and the worst wolves are, to quote, "hairy on the inside."
Secondly, and let's not beat about the bush ( pun entirely intentional ) the movie is positively dripping dark Gothic sexuality. Not that is has any sex scenes per se ( though there is the least erotic lovemaking scene between the heroine, Rosaleen's, parents at one point ), but it's a Freudian orgy. Sensuality swamps practically every scene, and though it has been known for me to over-analyse a tad ;) it's hard to resist the urge to intermittently shout out "ooh, lipstick as a labia metaphor!" or "That tree has a phallus!" ( which is why I stopped watching films with my parents decades ago... I think I was embarrassing them.)
"Oh come ON Mum !!!! The tree quite obviously has a penis!!" "I think I'll go make a pot of tea now..."
Like the much later "Ginger Snaps" lycanthropy is pretty much a metaphor for sexual awakening, however, here the nature of the beast is firmly rooted in seduction. Even the walks in the mist-shrouded forests bring a quickening of the pulse that can't always be attributed to unease.
Possibly my fascination for this collection of stories within a story comes from seeing it for the first time when sexuality was foremost in my own mind. That said, it is classified as a horror movie and has a couple of impressive wolf transformations that haven't aged too badly, though they distracted me from my preferred focus of the Gothic ambiance. In my world Beauty and the Beast wouldn't have been totally ruined by the Beast becoming yet another bland Prince, and the happy couple would have embraced their attraction and maybe popped out a few puppies or something. But then I would have preferred Beauty to have not been put off by her beau having a bit of extra fur on him. Likewise, when the wronged 'witch' in one of the tales exposes the vile aristocracy for the savage beasts they truly are, and thereby commanding the respect she deserved, then I, for one, cheered her on.
If I were to have one criticism it would be this : the movie is often interpreted as having a feminist bias, with the men all being portrayed as beasts in disguise, cruel brutes, or seducers. Whilst I can see why a confused and blossoming pubescent girl may see things this way it's only balanced by a quote from Rosaleen's mother that goes, "It there's a beast in men it meets it's match in women too."
Things this film has taught me? 1) If his eyebrows meet in the middle and he speaks with an accent then he wants in her pants. And 2) "My, what big teeth......." leads exactly where you'd expect it to.
Some fabulous little performances all round, but you don't really watch it for the Oscar winning acting. Give it a go, you might actually like it if you have a taste for the quirky with a slight under-taste of perverse.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The one main reason why I wanted to see this is because I have seen it
compared very regularly to a similar (but less arthousey) movie Ginger
Snaps. After watching this I can see why. Both of them use lycanthropy
as a metaphor for growing up. When I compare both I don't know which I
prefer, mainly because both use completely different methods of getting
this message across.
The plot is that Rosaleen's sister dies because she went into the woods and strayed from the path. After her funeral her grandmother (Angela Lansbury) takes Rosaleen into her house for the night and tells her a story about newly-weds. The groom (Stephen Rea) leaves on their wedding night inexplicably and returns years later after the bride knows the truth, marries another and has three kids, basically telling Rosaleen that men are beasts. Then there are a few other stories told like a man getting hair growth and being taken by the forest (I know, weird) and a wedding reception where the groom gets a visit from a woman he impregnated and the impregnated woman turns all the guests into wolves. Then we have a basic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, only this time The Huntsman and The Wolf are one and the same character. Rosaleen then tells the story of a She-Wolf getting shot and injured, then transforms back into a woman in front of a priest who heals her wound and afterward hides. Rosaleen then accepts that she wants to change into a wolf and does so.
Okay, if you are interested yet art-housy movies dripping with symbolism that you have to work out aren't your taste then instead try Ginger Snaps instead (yes that movie also has symbolism but it's a lot more subtle). If however you do enjoy movies like this then pick it up immediately.
Rosaleen is a young and innocent girl who dreams of living in an 18th century rural village, and through the framing device(note that this does require you to pay close attention and analyze the content) of her experiencing or being told stories of werewolves(and no, not all of the ones seen in this are dogs !), mostly by her overprotective Granny(Angela Lansbury), their sexual connotation is explored. There is *a lot* to think about in this, and the 90 or so minutes pass incredibly fast, and you'll find yourself gripped by it. The dialog is marvellously written, and most lines have significance or deeper meaning to them. I have not read the stories by Angela Carter that this is based upon, but I would like to. This is like a folkloric fairytale, and it's a brilliant piece of cinematic fantasy. It's visually stunning, with numerous symbolic images, surreal sights and sounds, a creepy, chilling atmosphere and a haunting score. We get several impeccable and terrifying transformations, and in general, the FX, whilst somewhat dated today, are fantastic. The acting is spot-on, for everyone, including the animals(!). Patterson takes your breath away, and her appearance and movements perfectly illustrate her curiosity and gradually disappearing childhood. Stamp shines in a cameo. The director of Interview with a Vampire shows his skill in this, too... I understand that The Crying Game is also well worth the time. There is brutal, disturbing content and a little tasteful nudity in this. The DVD comes with a trailer that gives a lot away. I recommend this to those who love thinking about the films they watch. It is a strange picture that not everyone will like, though. 8/10
although it has been awhile since i have seen this film, i remember it
being incredibly surreal yet visually stunning as well. whenever weird
films are brought up in conversation, i usually mention this one.
true to the themes in many other of Neil Jordan's films (including Interview with the Vampire and The Crying Game) he utilizes man vs. nature theme as well as incorporating in androgynous characters. the film also hones in upon the idea of the werewolf as a more sensual mythological creature, the same idea he embellished in Interview with the Vampire by using sensual yet tragic beings of the damned. the werewolves in this movie are both beautiful and frightening.
see this movie if u are sick of bloody werewolf movies and if u wanna see a new spin on the topic.
This is a wonderful film about fairytales, werewolves, growing up into
adolescence and much folklore. It is not really a horror-movie, but that
doesn't matter. In the early 80's you had a couple of horror-movies, like An
American werewolf in London and The Howling, which were much more
successful, but "Company of wolves" has become a real cult-movie.
I liked the acting of both Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen, and Angela Lansbury as Granny, and the rest of the cast also was nice.
If you like a strange film once in a while, see this one!
This is an interesting film. I don't know if I'd classify it as "horror,"
since it seems to have more of a dark fantasy/fairy tale feel. It is a
retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, a dream sequence, a coming-of-age
story, and a werewolf movie all rolled into one.
But don't assume, because I mention fairy tales, that it's for kids. No, this is more along the lines of the original Brothers Grimm tales, and each story (told either by the grandmother or Rosaleen), has a macabre twist. I especially enjoyed the sequence about the "witch" who gets revenge on her erstwhile paramour at his wedding.
Anyway, viewers expecting a typical blood-and-gore horror flick will be disappointed. It *does* have some gory transformation scenes, but they seemed out-of-place in the movie, and its real strength, in my opinion, lay in the folkloric/fairy tale approach. Many of the images stayed with me long after I had seen the movie. It may prove inspirational to artists of any medium.
Oh, and on a purely lascivious note, you ladies may enjoy watching the "huntsman," Micha Bergese, whom Rosaleen meets on the path to her grandmother's house. ;) I certainly did.
Has an other-worldly effect. With Val Lewton's help, subtlety, some haunting music, his awesome lighting effects, this could have been absolutely perfect. As others have mentioned, the special effects badly mar this still-outstanding film. The irritating special effects being the very noisy and very obnoxious human to wolf transformation scenes. I think that it still could be greatly improved by editing out those scenes. 8 stars. 9 or 9 1/2 if it was edited. Stick in a Val Lewton-street musician or two and edit it and I'll give it a ten!
Visually arresting, intellectually compelling, the musical score having
fine moments and the screenplay many good ones, but 'The Company of
is let down by weak spots and some rather poor performances. Sarah
Patterson looks the part but is vocally inadequate as the new Red Riding
Hood; Shane Johnstone as the boy is mostly embarrassing in a thin part,
which several cries of 'Rosaleen!' might profitably have been excised.
Angela Lansbury, and especially Graham Crowden as the priest, shine by
The overall look of the film is finely styled, but it was a bad mistake to try and do animatronics and transformation scenes given what was obviously a very limited budget. Suggestion would have worked rather better - as it does in the tremendous Augustan wedding scene.
The delicate, unsettling balancing act Angela Carter's story attempts between the comforting and the disturbing is the film's chief interest, though. Her tale of a true society of wolves, though they be denied other companionship, and her suggestion that awakening sexuality both male and female, though traumatic, need not always prove fatal or demoniacal, have a lot of force; and her willingness to turn at the last moment, and ask whether the comfort she has located may not itself be a comforting illusion, is rather special. One of those slightly compromised films that lingers in the memory where technically slicker, and indeed better acted ones slip away.
Personally trapped with this disturbing story about werewolves, this
film production Jordan conveys such beauty that left me in love ; the
story conveys so much feeling , so tenderly , that one comes to love
her with all my heart , there is room for the development of terrifying
subplots, dark and dramatic stories, the film has a romantic air , its
atmosphere is fairytale , with delicious characters and a relentless
The effects of makeup and special effects are great, masterful performances of the entire cast , the cinematography is beautiful and penetrating ; the content of the movie you see: evil , kindness , betrayal, compassion, family issues , and the curse of the werewolves .
Sarah Patterson is beautiful and wonderful , plays Rosaleen , a smart girl , sweet , tender , she is the soul of the film; This film is a mature and very fascinating terror, is a masterpiece of cinema , love it so much that often causes , please pay attention to all quotes from the movie because everything is very deep and special.
The Company Of Wolves is one of my favorite movies.
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