When you think about the fact that they are remaking the classic horror The Wolf Man, the first question you might ask yourself is: Why? But in a time when re-makes and re-boots are so ubiquitous, it might be a tired query.
A short way into the film, it becomes obvious that this remake of The Wolfman is not so much an updated re-imagining of the concept (as An American Werewolf in London was) as it was an homage to the greatness of the original 1941 movie with Lon Chaney et al.
Campy in places, and violently jarring in others, the director Joe Johnston has worked to add the benefits of advanced special effects while conjuring up the atmosphere of a golden age horror flick.
I can’t help but feel that Benicio Del Toro was an interchangeable character in this movie, inasmuch as his role could have been played by anyone, and been as convincing, as the black sheep member of the wealthy English gentry. But to Del Toro’s credit, his dark eyes and unique features certainly add to the mid-metamorphosis shots. At times he seems to struggle with the “proper English” and marble mouths a few lines here and there, but in general does a reasonably good job of playing the physically and emotionally tortured soul.
The ancillary cast, led by Hugo Weaving really enhance the effort to create the prototypical “angry villagers” so familiar to the classic monster flicks, and Geraldine Chaplin, looking wizened and haggard, is perfect as the creepy gypsy woman who speaks in ominous ambiguity.
Despite a marginally cliché ending, The Wolfman provides some good entertainment value and some cheap, but effective, scares and, though it would have likely been better served by a Halloween release, it should have a half-decent run to the box office. (Review by Elbow Murderpants from Bien Agiter!)