Warner Archive brings fans the cult classic “Wolfen” to Blu-ray in a no-frills edition without any special features. Many have been waiting for this horror / thriller to hit high-definition, but after viewing it I realize I’m not one of them. A stunning cast featuring great performances from Albert Finney, Gregory Hines, and Edward James Olmos can’t save this plodding and rather tedious film. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s downright bad, but it takes a great deal of patience to wade through it.
In “Wolfen,” New York City police investigator Dewey Wilson (Albert Finney) is trying to solve a series of grisly deaths in which the victims have seemingly been maimed by feral animals. He teams up with expert criminologist Rebecca Neff (Diane Venora), and together they stumble upon a band of inner-city Native Americans, led by the streetwise Eddie Holt (Edward James Olmos), who warns Wilson and Neff about a wolf-like, mythical creature that could offer a shocking solution to this disturbing case.
I want to stress how great Edward James Olmos is in “Wolfen.” He’s always been a versatile actor, and his talent truly shines through here. It’s safe to say that if you haven’t seen the movie before, you’ll never look at him the same again.
“Wolfen” is rated R for violence and gore, sex and nudity, profanity, alcohol, drugs, smoking, and frightening and intense scenes. We see beheadings, slashings, and plenty of blood for horror hounds. Many naked cadavers are seen lying around in the morgue and Edward James Olmos bares all in one sequence.
With an interesting storyline and great practical and makeup effects, what makes “Wolfen” a challenge to get through is its pacing. It also doesn’t help that it looks like a werewolf movie from the outside, but isn’t. Whether I should have or not, I sort of felt cheated. The concept of the creatures reminded me of a less teen-oriented and more serious version of the wolf pack in the “Twilight” series.
“Wolfen” is available now on Blu-ray.