Wolfman DVD cover

Oh, here I go with my standard WTTW (word to the wise) when faced with posting a review for a certain style of book or movie: this book/movie/production has or is imbued with a certain old-fashioned sensibility. Whether you like that sort of thing (or not) depends on how much you will like the resulting book/movie/production. If you like it, you’ll be blown away. If not, then you’ll be yawning your head off and looking to see how much time has passed.

This re-imagining – or rather, re-working – of the iconic 1941 Lon Chaney version of the Wolfman story seemed to me to be a classic 1930s horror flick, updated with top-of-the-line acting talent, extensive location shooting at the most stately of English stately homes, elaborate costuming – and oh, my the special effects; miles above what was available at that time. The horrific transformation of the protagonist from man to wolf in “An American Werewolf in London” set a high bar for painful realism, or so I deduced, (I had my eyes closed during the most awful parts of that particular movie) and the director, Joe Johnston took full advantage of that – and other familiar elements and conventions of the classic horror genre such as dark forests, lavish Victorian settings/details, foggy nights, full moons, strange gypsy fortunetellers, mysterious family tragedies and decrepit mansions.

Benicio Del Toro stars as the younger son of an English lord, returning to his ancestral home, after the mysterious death of his older brother – his American accent and looks neatly explained by his having been an actor in America for years, and by his mother having been Spanish. There’s something foul afoot in the woods by the ruinous stately manor, ruled over by his reclusive father, Anthony Hopkins, who chews the scenery remorselessly, as well as taking over just about every scene he is in. Another classic tell – a great actor appearing in what at first seems a small role – that means there is Something Strange & Significant Afoot, for there will be a denouement of Horrific Revelation, in which great acting chops will be required. Emily Blunt appears, somewhat peripherally as the dead brother’s fiancée and understated love interest – and doom. Hugo Weaving wanders in at first for no apparent reason as the investigating police officer, and wanders away again, howling. And there you have it – if you like classic horror movies updated, you’ll love it.

Wolfman is available from Amazon.com and other commercial outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her previous book “To Truckee’s Trail” and her current book project – The Adelsverein Trilogy is also available through Amazon.com. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

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