HOLLYWOOD —Scary, fascinating and unforgettable are words used to describe director Joe Johnston’s new epic “The Wolfman.” With werewolves and vampires so popular today both on the big screen and even on TV, it was certain that a studio would tackle one of the greatest horror genres of all time. Actor Benicio Tel Toro is no Lon Chaney, Jr., but he’s an amazing werewolf and his performance is incredible. His transformation from man to monster is a must-see for fans of the wolf man. Gone is most of the mystery of the story, but the film is enticing and exciting to viewers.
Sir Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot is menacing and charismatic in a role tailor-made for him. The film isn’t an exact story of any of the previous Universal Studios epics, so Johnston gets to maneuver his characters and storylines in new ways. I was not sure I’d be a fan of the film, which was plagued by production delays and firings of major players. Through it all, none of the great storyline or wonderful acting are lost in the final scenes.
The synopsis in part states, “Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman, is lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father, Talbot sets out to find his brother… and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself. Talbot’s childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother’s fiance, Gwen Conliffe, tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search.”
Soon Talbort learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline has come to investigate. The film moves very swiftly and Del Toro is a wonderful werewolf and also great in his human role of Lawrence as well.
“The Wolfman” being a more current version in the horror genre is quite violent and doesn’t leave much to the imagination as far as murder and mayhem. However, fans of Hopkins and Del Toro should not read too much into my description of violence, it’s an incredible film that kept me on the edge of my seat. Completing a superior cast is Emily Blunt as Gwen Conliffe a passionate and fiery British lady, and Blunt is crafty and utilizes her acting ingenuity to steal many scenes from her male counterparts and this is a good thing.
The writing is crisp and easily understood by the viewers. No one’s going to win an Oscar for this film, but the acting and writing are brilliant and “The Wolfman” will be number one at the box office this weekend. The film opens on Friday, February 12.
“The Wolfman” gets Four of Five Stars.