Film Reviews

The Wolfman Review: Benicio Del Toro's Magnetism Isn't Enough to Save This Period Piece

The Wolfman has it all – mist drifting over moonlit moors; Geraldine Chaplin as a gypsy fortune-teller; a dark, gloomy castle full of cobwebs and family secrets; effective fake-out scares complete with crisply jarring sound; a bombastic score and a soundtrack overstuffed with creepy whispers. Benicio Del Toro stars in this lushly art-designed 19th century period film but his beefcake-gone-bad magnetism is not enough to justify sitting through a movie that’s full of sound, fury and unintentional camp – and is still bafflingly inert.

After acclaimed actor Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) receives a letter from his brother’s fiancée (Emily Blunt) informing him of his sibling’s disappearance, he hightails it from the New York stage to the sprawling home of his estranged family, only to be greeted with the news that his brother’s badly mutilated body has been recovered. A bonehead move that the script passes off as heroism (lots of those) soon results in Talbot being bitten by the creature who killed his brother. Blood, gore and a laughably bad insane asylum sequence ensue.

Some father-son conflict (papa Talbot is played by Anthony Hopkins, alternately hammy and sleepwalking through the part) juices the film a bit, but not enough to save it.

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Ernest Hardy is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group and its film partner, the Village Voice. VMG publications include LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.