DVD: The Wolfman

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Starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving. Directed by Joe Johnston. 119 minutes (extended cut). Unrated

Even if you watched this film alone on a full moon night in an empty, ancient mansion, secluded from society, you would not fear The Wolfman.

Set long ago, when people rode carriages and wore bonnets, The Wolfman begins with Lawrence Talbot's (Benicio Del Toro) search to solve the mystery of his brother's death. One night, when Lawrence is hot on the tail of the vicious beast ravaging the town, he gets caught off-guard and his inevitable transformation begins.

What's wrong with The Wolfman is it's not very frightening and it's not very memorable, two things that a horror film needs to be. What good is a horror film if it doesn't leave you trembling under the covers for nights to come? Isn't that why we watch them?

The Wolfman is too obvious in-your-face to truly scare. The man in the fur suit looks like a man in a fur suit. It would have scarier to catch partial glimpses and silhouettes of the Wolfman, rather than showing his costumed-face in full. The myth of the mysterious Wolfman is also not very captivating. The townspeople say that supposedly there is a Wolfman that lurks the woods on full moon nights, and then we see the Wolfman. There isn't enough time to build up the lore.

The setting, however, is creepy. Think a less spooky Sleepy Hollow, but spooky nonetheless. Shady trees, wispy shadows and a creaky, old mansion help create a dark, gloomy background to the story - speaking of which, is very unmemorable.

It's hard to recount the story (and I've seen the film twice). Scenes seem pointless, filled with empty dialogue, bogging the plot back. Ask someone who has seen the film to tell you what it's about; they can probably do it justice under 10 words.

It's sad that such a great cast of actors were given such a shabby story to work with. Two Oscar winners and a Golden Globe winner surely went to waste. Though that said, there was often too strong a hint of modernity in actors' voices. It was like actors from 2010 were trying very hard to sound as if they were from 1891. That aside, performances were as expected, top-notch.

Unfortunately, great performances don't save the film. To be blunt, it's boring. With heavier dose of suspense, it may have been mildly enjoyable. Spend your time catching some zzz's instead. Better yet, let the film lull you to sleep. D

EXTRAS: Deleted and extended scenes, alternate endings, full-length 1941 film The Wolf Man

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