The Wolfman (Joe Johnston, 2010)

The Wolfman is the latest remakes of many Classic Universal Horror Monsters such Frankenstein, Mummy, Dracula. It is set in a gothic-feel Victorian era, Lawrence Talbot (a Latin Benicio Del Toro playing an Englishman), at the request of his brother's fiancée, Gwen, came home to look for his missing brother, Ben. He was found dead upon Lawrence's arrival with the body brutally mutilated by an unknown assailant. Lawrence tried to investigate until he was bitten by what appear to be the same culprit, the legendary werewolf who has terrorized this small settlement. He was rescued and miraculously recovered from the wound. By the next full moon, what have been suspected by the locals: Lawrence inevitably turn into a werewolf himself. At the same time, his feeling for Gwen is growing steadfast......

With Rick Baker, the make up maestro, one will think the design of the werewolf will be in safe hand. Well to be honest it's a kind of hit and miss situation here. While the transformation scene from man to beast was handled well, which anyway we are expect to see due to the advancement of the CGI technique, one can't help but notice the beast itself is too "human-like". Maybe it is just me, but i prefer the werewolf's snout more recognizable, like the one in An American Werewolf in London (Landis, 1981), where Rick Baker's make up won him an Oscar for the Best Special Effect category.

Stiff acting from A-List main cast cannot save The Wolfman as a howling, forgettable effort. Anthony Hopkins was the wolfman's estranged father but the wafer thin script did not flesh out the relationship between father and son. Hugo Weaving played a detective from Scotland Yard who was adamant to track down the whereabout of the beast. Emily Blunt provided the love interest as Ben's wife-to-be, but the romance part is hollow and too rush. It is perhaps the fault of Director Joe Johnston who should know he has a solid material in hand to build up the suspense, but no, instead we are served with lots of jumpy hallucination sequences using cheap scare tactic such as loud and sudden audio burst which kill the suspense mood. They even hired Gollum from Lord of the Rings to appear as cameo, no kidding. Hey, come to think of it, I think I also witnessed the fiery fighting between Wolverine and Sabretooth at the finale.

There are plenty of strong, bloody violence during those werewolf attacks. In fact the overdone gore implied the director's preference of making The Wolfman as by-the-numbers horror flick instead of say... a psychological horror thriller, at least they should have emphasize on the building up the suspense. The movie seems so eager to bring the first werewolf transformation to the audience and I wonder if the troubled production (allegedly due to creative differences), and a lot of the unused footages (end up on the editing room's floor), contributing to the poor pacing in the first half. Watch this movie only if you a real diehard werewolf fan while waiting for the aforementioned An American Werewolf in London remake.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List

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