That hairy-handed brute the werewolf gets a makeover in The Wolfman, a glossy, gory remake of the 1941 Universal Studios horror movie classic. Benicio Del Toro gets to sport the fur and fangs as unfortunate English aristocrat Lawrence Talbot – the role made famous by Lon Chaney Jr in the original – who gets bitten by a strange beast while visiting his ancestral home in Victorian Britain. Of course, when the moon is full, the hirsute beast within emerges and lets rip…
Special-effects guru Rick Baker, a past master at this sort of thing since An American Werewolf in London more than two decades ago, makes the man-to-werewolf transformations gruesomely spectacular and the subsequent slayings are even more grisly, with bloody decapitations and disembowelments galore. Unfortunately, similar violence appears to have been wreaked on the script (the film had a notoriously troubled production), leaving the story’s timeline a little fuzzy: the full moons seem to come around awfully quickly.
That means more opportunities for bestial slashing and ripping, but the cast come off second best. Del Toro broods and furrows his brow but can’t give his character tragic depth, Anthony Hopkins hams things up as Talbot’s estranged father, and poor Emily Blunt is left on the sidelines as the film’s posh totty. Still, gore-hounds will lap up all the carnage.
On general release from 12th February.