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I was very pleasantly surprised. It is rare that you find a horror film so masterfully done. The cinematography was excellent. The entire film was like dream. Very similar to Snow White (the Grimm Brother's horror version)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale isn't something one
would show to young children although it isn't as shocking as its (UK)
18 certificate would suggest; there is no swearing, no nudity, one very
subtle sex scene and the violence is at a lower level than many fifteen
certificate films. I can only imagine that the rating is because much
of what happens is a metaphor for Rosaleen reaching puberty and her
The film opens at a large house in rural England where a young girl is having a strange dream. In this dream she is living in a village in a forest and is visiting her grandmother who lives outside the village. When she gets to her grandmother's house she is told cautionary tales about werewolves and what she must do to avoid them herself. When young Rosaleen returns to the village she heeds her grandmother's advice although her parents think that it is mere superstition. On a later visit to her grandmother she is given a bright red hooded cloak which is much brighter than anything anybody else in the village wears, this soon gets the attention of an amorous village boy. They go for a walk in the forest but get separated, she hides from him by climbing a tree, at the top there is a birds nest where the eggs hatch to reveal something very strange. While she is there the boy finds a cow that has been killed by a wolf; he returns to the village to warn everybody. I won't say more to avoid spoiling the ending.
The film feels quite old now but is still good, the studio setting gives the village and the forest and somewhat unnatural look which suits the fact that it is meant to be a dream. Sarah Patterson is excellent as Rosaleen, I was amazed to learn that she was only twelve or thirteen at the time this was filmed.
Everyone has been told of the story of "Little Red Riding Hood". Well, this one comes with a twist! Nightmares come forward and plagues a young woman, and the story gets even more interesting. Her older sister gets killed by wolves, and the stories are getting more morbid by he minute. Her grandmother(Angela Landsbury) tels the tales of men who are wolves in sheep's clothing. When people are getting killed of by these lupines, the stories get creepier by the minute, every time. I liked the part where this woman get pregnant by the man who needs up marrying someone of high-class, she turns the reception into a royal dog show while the servants take a break. To me, this horror movie makes all other wolf movies look ordinary. I liked "Wolfen" for it's modernization, and this one is for it's classical taste. Anyone puts this movie done is foolish. If anyone falls asleep on this one, don't say I told you so! *WOLF HOWL!* 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS!
The Company of Wolves is a truly underrated little gem of a horror
flick. With a unique story, solid acting, cool fx and a fantastic feel,
the movie delivers much, much more than it doesn't.
The movie, more than anything is a coming-of tale of our leading lady. A very pretty young girl who's dealing with her budding sexuality and her growth into adult-hood. Combining this with horror themes and that of the fable Little Red Riding Hood, The Company of Wolves excels amazingly. Grandma tells Rosaleen stories of wolves, or should I say men, who act like wolves. Stories of trust, loyalty, loss of innocence, there are numerous hidden and not so hidden themes being talked about here. Even something that I've always thought rang pretty true. Men with uni-brows are weirdos. It's true! You can't trust them!
A flick that I always saw because of the wildly cool cover, but for some reason or another never took the time out to rent it. I'm glad I finally have because not many films can meld fantasy and horror like this one. Company of Wolves was a really solid flick that any fan of horror/fantasy should check out.
"Never Stray From the Path, Never Eat a Windfall Apple, and Never Trust
a Man Whose Eyebrows Meet." and please add always go straight
home.....the consequences are.....????? Magical, enthralling, and
dangerous as all knowledge....go ahead eat that apple / eat the peach &
embrace the consequences. It would seem that there is a certain gnostic
bent to all of this. Indeed, dealing with, approaching a
transformational state (in this case from childhood to a sexually
mature woman) is best done in a cryptic , symbolic way, it allows for
the power of symbols (human's sui genris)to guide us.
I had been underwhelmed or, more precisely, baffled by this film on
first viewing and would probably have rated it no higher than **1/2
(Leonard Maltin was even less impressed than me)! However, having just
read its enthusiastic entry in the "Time Out Film Guide" (by Gilbert
Adair, no less), I decided to purchase the R2 SE DVD when it was
recently discounted at Play.com
and I'm extremely glad that I did
because I loved the film this time around, feeling that it's almost the
equal if a different animal altogether, no pun intended of my
favorite "wolf man" picture ever, AN American WEREWOLF IN London
(1981)! But I've said that often enough (most recently in my review of
another contemporaneous werewolf film, SILVER BULLET ) so, back
to the matter at hand...
This has to be the screen's most original treatment of lycanthropy though director Jordan insists that it isn't a horror movie and who, on completing the film, was afraid that he had made a picture whose appeal was limited to teenage girls and wolves! with rampant symbolism throughout (having over-sized toys attempt to sexually assault the elder sister of leading lady Sarah Patterson, in the latter's dreams, is as effective a metaphor for a teenage girl's coming-of-age as any I've seen!) and a distinctly surrealist perspective. As per the accompanying Audio Commentary, the film had a myriad influences: Grimm's Fairy Tales (some of which are even integrated into the narrative, as adapted by Angela Carter from her own stories), Gustave Dore' paintings, the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and, most surprisingly of all, the work of Polish directors Wojchiech J. Has (whose THE SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT  inspired the film's tale-within a tale-within a tale structure) and Walerian Borowczyk (particularly LA BETE 's similarity to the middle story here, involving a ravaged girl who turns out to be a witch and disrupts an aristocratic wedding by turning the gathering into werewolves) plus more obvious ones like the German Expressionist films, as well as the Universal, Hammer and AIP's "Corman Poe" horror classics.
Despite the low-budget on hand, the film's production values (cinematography, lighting, art direction, costume design) are splendid and richly evocative; besides, it features George Fenton's lush and memorable score which, along with the forest setting, reminded me quite a bit of LEGEND (1985; and which was filming simultaneously with THE COMPANY OF WOLVES!) not to mention brilliant animatronic work and make-up effects by Christopher Tucker, highlighting various methods of transformation (all equally spectacular) and two effective beheadings. The cast is notable, too: Sarah Patterson (one of the most beguiling teenage performers I've seen, whose acting career unfortunately got stalled practically immediately though Jordan says he has stayed in contact with her all these years!), Angela Lansbury (perfectly cast as a vaguely sinister, tale-spinning Grandmother with a live fox-fur as her familiar and who's featured most prominently in a re-enactment of the "Little Red Riding Hood" fable), David Warner, Micha Bergese (his unusual appearance and background as a professional dancer suiting the physicality of his role as The Huntsman), Graham Crowden, Stephen Rea (a staple in Neil Jordan movies), Brian Glover (who was also in AN American WEREWOLF IN London!) and Terence Stamp (stepping in for original choice Andy Warhol, in an uncredited 30-second bit as the Devil perhaps the film's most enigmatic sequence incongruously turning up in the forest, fitted with a suit and tie, in a Rolls Royce driven by a blonde Patterson, herself dressed up as a chauffeur!).
The film's classy visuals are beautifully rendered by the remastered DVD transfer though the audio was relatively weak in comparison and should, perhaps, have been boosted a little as well. The major supplement is an engaging and very informative Audio Commentary with Jordan; however, having just viewed the film prior to listening to it, this proved a bit too much to take in one sitting! The wonderful DVD artwork and reasonable insert booklet were a nice touch, too. I've been impressed by the majority of Neil Jordan's work including his other super-stylish 'horror' effort, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES (1994) but I have no qualms, at this stage, about singling out THE COMPANY OF WOLVES as probably his best film, certainly the most intriguing and satisfying (on almost every level)! I'll be watching his latest offering BREAKFAST ON PLUTO (2005) imminently, and might also get to WE'RE NO ANGELS (1989), IN DREAMS (1999), THE END OF THE AFFAIR (1999) and THE GOOD THIEF (2002) soon enough...
One final thought: I have to say that, despite the overall bad reputation cinema got during the 80s, I own quite a few DVDs from this era in fact, far more than in subsequent decades, when the medium was supposed to have seen a definite resurgence (though this was certainly not the case with the horror genre)!
Speciality films like this are always hard to digest. In Christian
societies, the fetish association of sex and violence is taboo. But,
this may not have been the case in pagan societies.
The litmus test for this film may be what it tells us about ourselves. Perhaps in the post-modern era, the film is intended to dispel romantic notions about sexuality, and conventional notions about humanity. Although I don't dig it, I respect the makers of this film for the pursuit of their artistic vision.
Is it a classic? It doesn't have the budget or big-name cast to be a Hollywood classic. But, it is admired and imitated. So, it is a classic for those who dig it. Get it?
In this strange mix of folklore, fairy tales, horror, symbolism and
sexual werewolves, that isn't understandable for the casual viewer. The
story nor the style is significant present enough with as a result an
unique but not so successful movie.
The directing by Neil Jordan doesn't seem daring enough. The style isn't enough present and the story doesn't quite flow like it should. I'm sure that the story works better in the book and I feel that this movie might should be remade by for instance Tim Burton or Sam Raimi, I'm confident that they could do more with the style and story.
The cast is quite good with a convincing Angela Lansburry and a good young Sarah Patterson in her debut.
Some of the scene's are pretty gross, thanks to the good special effects by Toby Philpott but it doesn't always look convincing.
Interesting movie that could and should have been made better.
well honestly in the theatre the first 15 minutes into it people were leaving. then by half an hour into it i was like oh my god! i'm watching little red riding hood!! this movie was terrible! just terrible!!! i mean if you have a uni-brow your a were-wolf?? i mean please!!!!it doesn't get any worse then this movie. so please do not waste your time watching it. trust me you'll regret wasting the precious time you could have been solving global aids or something
Whatever. I saw this film in 1984, 1994 and 2004, and I dislike it even
more each time I see it. Yeah, I get the "symbolism," and I can appreciate
the set design, but it is disjointed. The plot and concept are all over the
map, and the ending defies explanation. I've read the posts of other
viewers, and their responses/reactions to the film are rather vague. The
special effects are weak, regardless of the time period. People actually
find this film "frightening"????? Of course, considering this is a Neil
Jordan flick, I shouldn't be surprised.
Back in 1984, I remember 90% of the audience walking out within thirty minutes, and NOT because they were scared. Perhaps this film appeals only to a select "art house" crowd. Or, maybe one needs to be "enhanced" in order to appreciate the nuances.
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