Movie Review: WOLFColumbia Pictures

“Oh, and Gary, don’t tell people you had a drop of Tequila with your coffee this morning. You didn’t have coffee this morning.”

William Randall, Senior Editor for a publishing company in New York, is on his way home from Vermont one snowy night when he happens to hit a wolf. Checking it out, Randall is, of course, bitten by the beast. Shortly, he’s noticing some changes taking place- he’s growing hair in places that he hasn’t had hair before, he seems to have a heightened sexuality, and he has this habit of going out at night until the wee hours of the morning. Either William is finally hitting puberty in his 50s, or he’s turning into a werewolf. My money’s on the later. Anyhoo, he’s also gotten these nifty heightened senses- smell, hearing, touch, taste…which, given the recent hostile takeover at his company, it gives new meaning to the term “dog-eat-dog”. The downside…he’s waking up in the mornings covered in blood, not knowing where he was the previous night. I call those “Tuesdays”…

I’m not very big on werewolf movies. There’s only really a few that seems to do something fresh with the basics of the genre in my book- An American Werewolf In London, Ginger Snaps, Dog Soldiers, and of course Lon Chaney’s The Wolf Man. Now, having just viewed this movie, I feel compelled to add this to the list.

First of all, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jack Nicholson is The Man. He gives a lovably sinister yet subdued presence in his roll as the over-the-hill Lycanthrope. Beautifully done. There’s really not much chemistry between him and Michelle Pfeiffer’s character (who, by the way, hasn’t had that kind of presence since her turn as Catwoman two years prior to this movie), but that’s just a minor setback. The movie as a whole has that feel of one of those classic 1930s Universal movies, with the film style and the musical score blending together nicely. The effects are minimal, but effective, having more to do with the afore-mentioned Lon Chaney’s wolf man than a full transformation to a wolf. The entire film builds on the tension and suspense juxtaposed against William Randall’s every day life, keeping me in the movie until the big wolf-man showdown in the last half-hour.

Wolf is one of those modern genre horror films that has retains a classic charm. Well worth a rental…