Lawrence Talbot's childhood ended the night his mother died. His father sent him from the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor to an insane asylum, then he goes to America. When his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe, tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns to his father's estate to learn that his brother's mauled body has been found. Reunited with his estranged father, Lawrence sets out to find his brother's killer... and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself. Someone or something with brute strength and insatiable blood lust has been killing the villagers, and a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline comes to investigate. Written by
Max von Sydow:
Seen only in the director's cut in an uncredited cameo, he plays a character who says he purchased the silver-headed cane at Gevaudan "lifetimes ago". Gevaudan (a French county now renamed Lozere) was famous for a series of attacks on humans in the 1760s, attributed to a werewolf-like "Beast of Gevaudan," elaborated on in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001). See more »
One of the topiary animals is a mountain gorilla. These great apes weren't discovered until 1902. See more »
Doesn't beat the classic, but comes out a better remake than most recent ones
Let me start by clarifying two things: 1) I'm a huge fan of horror Universal monster movies and the original Wolfman is a must see to me 2) I'm 18 so this review is not biased by age
The horror genre in particular suffers an overflow of remakes, reboots, etc today. Once in a while is okay, but there's far too many at once. This is nowhere near as bad as some (looking at you especially House on a Haunted Hill and Wicker Man) but this still didn't quite hit the mark. I wanted to see originality as long as it made sense and there were some interesting ideas here. There's also some pretty good scenes as well. The problem is that it's crippled by certain problems.
Let's start with the good things: Rick Baker was already loved for his effects in werewolf movies like An American Werewolf in London, and Wolf, as well as other movies where even if the movie's bad like Planet of the Apes, his work is excellent and kudos for getting him back. Baker clearly has respect for make-up legend Jack Pierce and the make-up is fantastic. I'm not a fan of CGI and I'm glad the movie cut itself down a bit although it did include it in some scenes. But Baker's work clearly shows.
Hugo Weaving was great and while Anthony Hopkins had a rougher start, he still did rather well. His character is harder than Rain's portrayal but in some ways it works. Certainly more than it did for his portrayal of Van Helsing in my eyes. The settings were fantastic. There's a lot of 19th century buildings that look gorgeous and act as a perfect contrast to the dark and creepy woods.
Now for the bad: The build-up in many scenes was rather limited. The asylum scene was okay, but many scenes could have built the tension better.
The acting from del Toro and Blunt was rather unemotional. I found Gwen Conliffe to be more supportive in this version, but Blunt's emotions were limited. She's a beautiful woman however no doubt. del Toro looks a bit like Lon Chaney Jr. and does well in the make-up, but the Larry side is bland. He's just not able to play it as tragically as Chaney. What's more while some complained that Chaney being Claude Rains son was absurd I can sooner believe in werewolves than the idea del Toro and Hopkins are kin.
Another flaw is the limited screen time of Maleva the old gypsy a key character in the original. She's okay in this, but given little to do which really ticks me off.
A big factor is the werewolf itself. In movies like the original Wolfman and Mummy there was a silent dread. The monsters showed their great power by intimidation alone and the idea they can kill you and go wild but prefer to stalk and plan. Both remakes made them more open to their power. The original's felt scarier without it, but the remakes make it work in their own way a bit.
I found this did better with the horror side than the emotional side. If Talbot was played as dramatically as in the original I think this might have done better. As a whole it's alright. Not too bad, but I can't say as memorable as the original.
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