Directed by Joe Johnston
The Wolfman “bites—but not, I think, in the way the filmmakers intended,” said Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. In this dull, defanged remake of the 1941 monster-horror classic, Benicio Del Toro steps into the Lon Chaney Jr. role of an Englishman who returns home to bury his brother and gets bitten by a werewolf.
It’s not that The Wolfman is howlingly bad, said Stephanie Zacharek in Salon.com. The filmmakers just never decided whether they were making a film that was “dark and moodily glamorous or ridiculous and gory.”
The symphonic score and the cast—filled with such thespians as Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt—suggest a film trying to be more than just a “creature feature.” Yet it’s only when director Joe Johnston drops the “grandiose pretensions” and plays up the hokum that The Wolfman comes to life.
The black-and-white original actually wasn’t all that good to begin with, so the remake is hardly “sullying hallowed ground,” said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. Johnston knows that the “old horror classics had pulp running through their veins,” and at its most enjoyable moments, his film recaptures their spirit and “honors those cheap thrills with gusto.”