Wednesday, 12 December 2012



You can never understand how studio executives' minds work: decisions seem to be taken on the shakiest of grounds sometimes. In this instance someone's apparently decided to make a werewolf movie on the somewhat questionable basis that 2010's The Wolfman was a huge hit. The Wolfman wasn't any good - possibly due to the studio interference that saw the score replaced and then restored - though it had a terrific Gothic look to it and Benicio Del Toro was ideal lycanthrope casting - but box-office sensation it emphatically wasn't. Either that, or someone heard that the final Twilight movie has some head-lopping gore in it. Whichever way, Universal presumably own the copyright on this hairy old tosh (having started it off with the Lon Chaney Jr version of The Wolf Man), so why not?

In the event, though, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is pretty bland and uninteresting fare despite plenty of blood, limbs and entrails strewn merrily across the set. A 19th Century Transylvanian village is plagued by werewolf attacks, and not just at the full moon: an elite squad of hard-bitten werewolf hunters turn up to destroy the beast, aided by the village medic's young apprentice. But is the monster one of the villagers, or one of the gypsies camped out in the woods? And can he (or she) control the murderous urges?

It's tolerable enough in a TV kind of way: it feels like a cut-down version of a three-hour miniseries that might, in its longer form, have given us a little background on the eccentric hunters, but it's a long way from the recent The Wolfman (which wasn't great anyway) or Hammer's Curse Of The Werewolf. You really need someone in the lead who looks a bit wolfy to start with - which is why Benicio Del Toro or Oliver Reed were such brilliant choices - but you don't get that here. Instead you get lots of body parts and CGI monster effects, and stabs at traditional werewolf lore, including the "Even a man who is pure in heart...." rhyme, interspersed with romantic soap opera and American accents that don't belong (even though they're no more inaccurate than cut-glass English ones). Missable, despite Stephen Rea and the occasional gloop.



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