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Wolfman, The


Stars: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Antony Sher, Art Malik, Geraldine Chaplin

Director: Joe Johnston

Ow-oooh! You know the name - Talbot, Lawrence Talbot. You know the number - of victims, that is. Yes, old hair 'n' fangs is back, in the sullen form of Del Toro, whom some would say is half-way there already. Universal have gone back to the first half of the 1941 original, adding on new plot developments, which enable them to stage a werewolf vs werewolf finale.

Poor old Lawrence - no longer Larry as he is now a Shakesperian actOR - travels from America to his ancestral home, not in Wales, as in the original, but the fictitious Blackmoor in 1891. Determined to solve the murder of his long-unseen brother, torn to pieces on the moors, Lawrence, against the advice of his father (Hopkins, treating the material with the contempt it probably deserves) ventures out on the night of the full moon and finds himself in the midst of carnage at the local gypsy camp, where most of the travellers lose heart (and often head) at the claws of the beast, which naturally bites Lawrence before the night is over.

Comes the full moon again and Hopkins, who obviously knows a thing or two, tells his son that 'The beast will have its day. The beast will out!' And so it does, though aficionados may be a bit disappointed by the tranformation scenes, which have hardly advanced since An American Werewolf in London 30 years ago.

Capable Emily Blunt soothes the fevered werewolf brow as she searches for a way to save him. Largely substituting gore for atmosphere, the piece thunders along, with an unintentionally funny policeman from Weaving, but nothing that remotely evokes sympathy for the plight of the central character. It's certainly one for blood-hounds rather than purists. Come back Lon Chaney!

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
102 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Feb 2010