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Movie Review

The Wolfman also known as “The Wolf Man,” “El hombre lobo,” “Wolfman,” “O Lobisomem,” “O lykanthropos,” “Volkodlak

MPAA Rating: R for bloody horror violence and gore.

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Horror Action Adventure Thriller Remake
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
February 12, 2010 (wide—3,222 theaters)
DVD: June 1, 2010
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

Wolves in the Bible

Moon

Curses in the Bible

Goodness

Witchcraft

Enchantments

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

Satan and the Devil in the Bible

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Devil

Demons


VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

Featuring: Emily Blunt (Gwen Conliffe)
Benicio Del Toro (Lawrence Talbot)
Anthony Hopkins (Sir John Talbot)
Hugo Weaving (Inspector Francis Abberline)
Geraldine Chaplin (Maleva), Elizabeth Croft (Ophelia), Art Malik (Singh), more »
Director: Joe Johnston
Producer: Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Stuber Productions, Bill Carraro, Sean Daniel, Benicio Del Toro, Ryan Kavanaugh, Stratton Leopold, Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn
Distributor: Universal Pictures

Remake of the 1941 Universal Pictures film “The Wolf Man” that starred Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney (as The Wolf Man)

“When the moon is full, the legend comes to life.”

How else would a Christian Movie Reviewer rate this undeniably un-christian movie, but with a rating somewhere between an obvious negative to a well deserved zero? Also take into consideration this movie was hyped to the max online and in the entertainment medias as a tantalizing chiller, only to fall flat and disappointing when finally seeing it on the big screen.

Now the movie-goer has paid to see a film that had a lot of potential to wow us and scare us and has to sit through nearly two hours of a ho-hum rendition full of Victorian angst and special effects and nothing else new or exciting. Even Rotten Tomatoes, rooted in “the world” has the rating at a low 30%, ruling that, although its “Suitably grand and special-effects laden, ‘The Wolfman’ suffers from a suspense-deficient script and a surprisingly lack of genuine chills.”

Set in the late 1880s, the Wolfman clings loosely to the plotline of the original, with Lawrence Talbot (a noticeably miscast Benicio Del Toro) returning home to England and Talbot Manor following the death and disappearance of his younger brother, Ben. After many years living away in America, Lawrence finds himself having to sort through his painful and traumatizing childhood upon once again meeting his distant and controlling father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins).

Not even recently arrived Scotland Yard inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) can deduce a rational explanation for the gruesome spell that has been cast over Blackmoor, with rumors of an ancient curse as told to Aberline by the frightened and mistrusting residence of the dark and brooding village.

According to the legend, a human once bitten by the Wolfman will experience a horrific transformation by the light of the full moon, their animal rage becoming far too powerful for their human bodies to contain. As noted in the beginning credits to the film:

“Even the man who’s pure of heart and says his prayers at night
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”

The 2010 version of the classic Wolfman film details events during Lawrence’s past that led to his estrangement from his father and ancestral home. The settings are changed from the mythical Welsh village of Llanwelly to the English village of Blackmore and takes place there, in the moors that surround it with a camp of mysterious Gypsies lodging there for good measure, as well as in the city of London.

The official synopsis states Talbot was traumatized by his mother’s death as a child, while Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) his brother’s fiancée, is the one who writes to Lawrence and asks him to find his brother’s killer. Following his brother’s brutal murder, Lawrence returns to fall in love with Gwen and hunt down the murderer, which turns out to be a crazed and ravenous werewolf. In the end, Lawrence uncovers a terrifying truth within his own lineage, and, through the course of the morbid story, we find the horrifying curse is passed on.

Although little foul language was uttered throughout this film (2 h*lls, 2 d*mns, 1 “Holy Mother of G*d”), and only minor nudity (statues) and 1 kiss, the rating of “R” is correct. It was rumored that, in the beginning, the film’s editors had been directed to either re-edit or change the PG-13 rating to an R for strong bloody violence and horror. The plenteous scenes full of blood, screaming, death, slashing, biting, dismembering, decapitations, and human entrails strewn through the moors, the streets and almost every place one can imagine could garner nothing less! This is not a movie for anyone who loves the Lord, is a Christian, has spiritual convictions and morals, and/or a parent who desires to pass those values onto their kids. The horribly gruesome special effects aside, this film is not for children of any age or discerning Christians.

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

I need not go into great detail, as the obvious story of “The Wolfman” is one dealing with witchcraft, the soul which is cursed, and the dark side which Satan rules. According to the Word of God, all kinds of witchcraft (curses, black or white magic), or any charms for protection or destruction, all are bad, no matter what, or no matter how, they are represented. Any manor of witchcraft or anything associated with it, as the Gypsies were in this film, is of Satan.

Christian people do not need any protection from Satan's side. God is greater than the defeated Satan, also God’s angels are stronger than Satan’s army of evil spirits and fallen angels.

According to Psalms 34:7, God’s angel guards those who honor the Lord and rescues them from danger—not any person, utterance, or thing, such as the amulet shown as a protective piece worn by Ben and recovered by Lawrence in this film. An amulet (often said to guard against witchcraft or, in the case of “The Wolfman,” to protect the characters of Ben and Lawrence) is worn to ward off evil spirits, while a talisman supposedly transmits power to the wearer. Often it is covered with figures or words that are alleged to avert evil, as in this film’s story. It is an insult to God for believers to wear such trinkets when they have a marvelous promise per Psalm 50:15 and 91:2, 11.

Christians should never get involved with witchcraft of any kind, even for a good and noble purpose, like the character of Gwen in “The Wolfman” and those referred to in stories like this one. Not even Gwen’s love could save Lawrence, nor a silver bullet to the heart. The only stirring of the heart for true salvation, is that found in the acceptance of the resurrection power in the person of Jesus Christ Himself.

The Bible speaks of the danger of ignorance, in God’s people (Hosea 4:6) and how risky it is even to bring things God classes as abomination into our homes (Deuteronomy 7:25-26) and lives. Unfortunately, our generation is so ignorant of God’s Word that it has been too simple for Satan to attack our youth, almost at will. It is on that somber note, I strongly conclude the concerned Christian stay away from and defend your kids from seeing this film and those like it, period!

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

What could have been an exploration into the mind and heart of a tortured soul and perhaps even in his redemption in the end, “The Wolfman” is just the empty shell of the original story with not one new twist to make it stand out. It is billed as a remake, but I found the original 1941 version far more brilliant. It dealt with the inner turmoil of a man whose soul was lost to evil and how he ended up. A reflection of how the lost sinner will end up, who never accepts the life changing forgiveness of and belief in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his transforming power over our hearts and lives.

The 2010 version of “The Wolfman,” for all it’s cinematic luster and top ranked actors, left me totally bored, not to mention worried over the affects it may have on the lost souls who view it and accept it’s lore of curses and werewolves to be fact! I kept looking at my watch wondering when all the blood, gore and screaming was ever going to end—and let me out of the theater. Although Universal Studios was at one time the king of monster movies, “The Wolfman” 2010 has missed the mark.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I would have to disagree with your review. I went into the movie to be entertained, and I was entertained. The director took a movie from the prime Universal Monster Collection and modernized it. I’d have to question you about whether you saw the original version or not. There is a reason it is a classic. I knew what this movie was about, so my expectations were just. Do I think it would cause a brother or sister to stumble in their faith? No, I do not. It is great discussion material though. The actors where spot on as usual. This film was artistic and moody. While it’s not for everyone, I wouldn’t base your decision on this review. I would base it on whether or not you are into this kind of stuff.

Yes, we should live in the world and not be of it, and that we should guard our hearts, but if you wish to see this movie decide whether or not it will affect you as a Christian. It didn’t for me, but I am not everybody. I wouldn’t consider this film as extremely offensive because compared to other horror movies out there, this was rather tame. It used more thematic elements such as lighting, sound, and mood than gore to scare us. More true to the horror genre than I have seen in awhile.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—M. Wood, age 26 (USA)
Positive—I consider this film to be nothing more than a re-make of the original. My dad is a retired pastor and he used to sit up with me at night on the weekends watching The Wolfman, The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein and all the other “monster” oldies. Granted, they were different than most scary movies today but they were designed to frighten and entertain without ulterior motives. I believe the 2010 version of “The Wolfman” has the same goal. It was cheesy in some scenes, but that’s the beauty of the movie. I think it was intended to be that way, because it is supposed to remind us of the glory days of Hollywood monster flicks. Although it was gory (which I fully expected), it was refreshingly free of foul language and sex. Therefore, I gave it an Average moral rating.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Dawn, age 39 (USA)
Neutral—I really enjoyed this film. I thought it was a nice throwback to the classics in the sense that it was an atmospheric Victorian horror story. There is some interesting subtext and symbolism too, if you care to look for it—that evil consumes us and controls our lives, and we cannot escape it under our own influence. It can lay claim to even the most innocent of hearts, because without salvation and the blood of Christ, we are all captive to evil. There is no witchcraft in this film, contrary to what the reviewer states—nor is there any discussion of the origins of the curse apart from our knowledge that it is spread through being bitten. The only bad thing about it is the amount of gore, which wasn’t really needed and detracted from the viewing experience for me (not seeing things is often much scarier than seeing them, since our imagination is far more frightening than anything CGI can come up with!).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Charity Bishop, age 27 (USA)
Positive—I just saw this movie on OnDemand, and I think it’s very good. I saw the film because I like the three movies Joe Johnston has directed that I’ve seen (“Honey, I Shrunk The Kids,” “The Rocketeer” and “Jurassic Park III”), I like Sir Anthony Hopkins (his performances in the Hannibal Lecter movies are legendary) and Benicio Del Toro. The film is ANYTHING BUT a remake of the classic 1941 film starring Lon Chaney Jr. The visual effects for that time were great, and the violence left to the viewer’s imagination.

This film bears very little resemblance to the earlier movie, fleshing out the back-stories of the characters quite well. This movie isn’t about demonic posession, so I don’t know why it’s considered unchristian. There’s, also, little to no swearing in the film. There, also, ARE quotations from Scripture sprinkled through the film, and ***SPOILER ALERT*** the end hints at a sequel. ***END SPOILER***

I recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—D, age 25 (USA)
Positive—…it’s kinda gorey, BUT there is no sex, no foul language… still it’s rated R for a reason, so if blood and gore does not bother you, I recommend you watch it
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Chris S, age 18 (Canada)
Positive—First off, disclaimer, I am a fan of monster movies in general and The Wolf Man especially. I always liked the original 1941 classic and was very glad to see it remade. I, too, must disagree with the statement that concerned Christians need to avoid this film as it might threaten their faith.

I agree, of course, that it is not a film for children and the R rating is deserved and should be adhered to. But I don’t think that the basic premise is in some way ruinous to Christian believers. The main character, Lawrence Talbot (as in the original film), is a man of the world, neither virtuous nor despicable. His lousy relationship with his father, traumatic death of his mother, and exile to America has contributed to a slightly womanizing, melancholy way of life. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Anne, age 21 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I knew what this movie was about before going into it. Werewolves. But, I wasn’t expecting it to be as bloody as it was. I mean, some of it was just too over the top. Also, some of the scenes when he is in the mental institution are pretty scary. I actually didn’t like them at all.

One thing I will say about this movie is that it doesn’t have any sex or nudity in it, and I was happy about that. So many times when you have movies that take place in the old times, you see that the woman’s clothing is too low cut revealing too much. However, that was not the case with this movie.

Overall, I do not recommend this movie. I was expecting it to be better than it was, and I thought the blood factor was too much. Hopkins did a great job on his character, but I just didn’t think it was worth it to spend money on. It’d be best to wait for the DVD release.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Sarah, age 26 (USA)
Neutral—…There are occultic and negative spiritual realities one must be cautious of, absolutely, but how is this film any worse than others of the genre? Further to that, Hollywood is certainly the prime offender for subtly, slowly, eroding both the moral line in the sand as well. While that in itself still does not provide the rationale for exposing one’s self to evil and gore, I have read positive reviews at C.S.M. of films I consider far worse on every level (though I have come to trust the caliber of reviews here to the point that I will avoid films I had otherwise wanted to see).

All that having been said, it comes down to whether or not one is a horror film buff, and loves the original 1941 version. How can you go to this film and be surprised to see supernatural curses, evil, and some monstrous attacks? These elements were certainly galactically milder in the original, but they are no worse than, say, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (which, curiously, was universally panned when it came out but is now…18 years later …heralded as a classic!)

Anyway I was quite keen on seeing this and, though it failed to live up to some of my preconceived ideas of how it would be done, I do not agree that the overall production is so utterly devoid of quality…or as deliberately determined to warp people’s souls…as our well meaning critic has over-emphasized. Not for non-adults for sure, not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for the novice or one dimensionally minded believer.

For fans of werewolf movies and Universal classic monsters, however, it is atmospheric and entertaining. Could have been better, sure, but what movie couldn’t?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Paul, age 49 (Canada)
Neutral—…I had high hopes for this year’s remake of the black 'n white Universal Studios relic “The Wolfman” (not that I’ve ever seen the original). I waited and waited and waited for it to roll hot off the VHS press AND find its way to our humble “theater.” Verily, I’m disappointed.

Usually, when I’m fighting fatigue, I can best my heavy eyelids with a good movie. Surprisingly enough, all the mos. of eager anticipation didn’t fully keep me awake through the movie. I slept through a grand total of about a minute of the film. I wasn’t trying to, but when sleep wins the battle for my attention, you know the movie isn’t as gripping as it should be, let alone the powerful throes of slumber.

Now, before I blacklist poor “Wolfman” from ever seeing the light of day, I will say this. I’m still a fan of supernatural cinema. “Van Helsing,” as immature as it may be, is still probably my favorite monster mash palooza. I think “The Wolfman,” despite trying to follow in the footsteps of its blueprint, shoulda gone with a fully CG monster. I know right? I never advocate CGI over real, true-to-life tangible items you can place in front of a camera.

But after “Van Helsing,” I realized the speed and the dexterity of a truly beast-like werewolf needs to be painted into the film with a wizard’s mouse. “Twilight,” for all its flak, had the better sense to do just this (i.e./. with a computer). Human movement (e.g. an actor in a suit or makeup) will never fully replicate the required intensity; you just end up with a bunch of ridiculous wire-stunts and Sabretooth expos (cf. the Wolverine movie), which in an “R” movie geared for adults, it feels kinda kinky, out of place even. Like “Legion” almost (not nearly as insulting, but not far behind)—appealing to 11 yr. old boys, but not exactly appropriate for that crowd of youngsters.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Mega Tron, age 23 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I have to wonder at “christians” today (actually I guess I shouldn’t since the Bible warns of such *believers* as the endtimes near) that feel their Christianity isn’t affected by going and seeing a movie like this. I think his name was “Mike” that said, “I went to be entertained, and I was entertained.” What does it say about a Christian’s walk when, what they find entertaining to their Christian heart, is that which comes right out of the minds of those that…at best, do not believe in God and at worst …those minds that would further the growing slide this country, and the world, are headed into.

The Bible talks about how we as Christians should gravitate towards what is good, pure, righteous, etc. Is the content of this film “good,” “pure” or “righteous”? Apparently in “Mike’s” mind, yes? I don’t mean to single him out, I mean to single out those Christians that perhaps have lost their sensitivity that God gave us to these things and find “entertainment” in such dark and evil themed films.

Personally, I didn’t waste the 20 or so dollars on seeing this film since, by simple association with its predecessor film and Hollywood’s zeal to use CGI to its fullest and test the bounds of today’s already sliding moral compass my discerning heart led me not to. Grace to you.
—Kurt, age 41 (USA)