Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Michael Wadleigh

Albert Finney/ Dewey
Diane Venora/Rebecca
Edward James Olmos/Eddie Holy
Gregory Hines/Whittington
4 10
When some rich snots pop up mangled in a R.I.P. way, a boozing, dirty, boring cop with fucked up hair (Finney) is brought in to solve the case. After MUCHO wasting time, the flat foot eventually links the bloodshed to a mysterious pack of wolves. Snores ensue.
\"Wolfen\" is based on the Whitley Strieber book of the same name (yes, the dude who wrote \"Communion\"). I never read the novel but having now seen this tedious adaptation, I’ll make sure to avoid it like my last one-night stand.

This could’ve been a decent genre film. It has a solid initial premise; an entertaining opening scene, showcases some really groovy steadycam “wolf pov” shots (which pick up on heat; think \"Predator\") and also sports some polished directing that perfectly captures the “urban” decay feel of the surroundings But alas, the content of the film itself isn’t up to par with its slick visuals. This puppy keeps going out of its way NOT to be a horror movie, the execution provides ZERO scares (how does that happen?), the pace is painfully slow and the flick tries too hard to communicate a “message”. Now I’m all about a kool social commentary in my fear “bon-bons”, but here I felt preached to and the film shamefully sacrificed the horror of the situation and the potential of the gnarly set ups in the process.

Then there’s the lead character (played by Finney) who annoyed the “Night of the Living Crap” out of me. All he did was eat (yes, even during autopsies), dead-pan his lines, eat some more and frown for the camera. He even smokes a cigar and sucks on a hot dog AT THE SAME TIME at one point (double phallic on that one). GROSS! Tag to that his “Preparation H” tube-like personality and you get one despicable hero. I just couldn’t warm up to this mess of a man and wanted the wolves to rip his ass to dog chow two minutes into the movie! When you can’t dig the lead in a film...you’re usually in big trouble. Well, I WAS!

My last big qualm with this bitch is one stupid ass plot hole that really grated me. Why didn’t the coroner pick up on the wolf teeth marks on the cadavers early on, identifying the attacker to be a wolf from the get-go? I guess that’s what happens when you hire dancing fool Gregory Hines to be an “expert”. Isn’t the nature of the wound one of the first things you check out on a corpse? Wouldn’t a specialist perceive and classify the bites fairly quickly? Well, not these oblivious buffoons. In consequence, the flick takes 45 minutes of its running time to delve into some bogus and trivial investigation that has nothing to do with the wolves. Talk about a massive waste of my time! At least if the investigation was somewhat engaging, maybe I could’ve let it go, but here it’s a sleeping pill on celluloid. When the characters FINALLY caught up with me and picked up on what the deal was...it was AN HOUR IN too late! My interest was already bye-bye by then.

The rest of the flick was all about having the wolves follow the lead to then do…NATHING, a ludicrous sex scene that comes out of left field (like she would sleep with crass Dewey….yeah right!), some really bland dialogue and a Tom Noonan (Ferguson) subplot solely being used as a tool to push the \"message\" angle one step further. Now yes, the film delivers some rare micro-tense moments and the wolf pack attack finale did put a smile on my face for a while (all about wolves crashing through mirrors in slow-mo…yippee!) but even that segment was ruined for me when the film once more decided that it wasn’t going to be a horror movie. The last frames of the movie made me want to hurl my Big Mac and fries. Put this wounded animal to sleep already! IT’S ALREADY DEAD!
We get some nasty wolf bites, a ripped out heart, a ripped throat, two bit off hands and a beheading. The gore is red wet but brief in screen time.
Albert Finney (Dewey) plays it \"one note\" the whole time and that is dead-pan. At least his white man afro kept me engaged on some level. Diane Venora (Rebecca) looks pretty, has nice lips and an ok delivery. Edward James Olmos (Eddie Holy) sheds his clothes a lot and talks spiritual crap. Gregory Hines (Whittington) is somewhat endearing but was almost upstaged by his fly earring and pimp shirt.
T & A
The ladies get a naked Edward James Olmos (yes, frontal too), Gregory Hines showing his ass and a cock shot of a male cadaver. We get a brief shot of Diane Venora’s bootie.
Wadleigh has a good eye and I’m sure he’s able to generate tension, but the script he’s working with (which he co-wrote with Eric Eyes) plays against him and all the aesthetic candy in the world couldn’t liven up this party. I dug the steady cam shots though, that slick mirror shot and the wolf’s slow motion shots were also dope. Too bad it’s in a crappy movie.
We get a somewhat dated score by James Horner that does sometimes make the film seem more exciting than it is. Other times, it makes it feel tacky.
Distributor: Warner Brothers Release date: August 13, 2002

IMAGE: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image impressed me, for an old flick, it looked very sharp. Great transfer!

SOUND: The Dolby Surround wasn’t as bang-on as the image and had a tendency to break, but overall it was decent.


The feature length commentary advertised on the back of the DVD box is a misprint. It’s not on the DVD.

We do get Howl-lywood (a written text about the history of the werewolf genre on film), one Theatrical Trailer (for Wolfen) and the usual Cast and Crew option.
They should’ve kept it simple: wolves are on the loose in the city, cops track them down. That’s it, that’s all, bring on the horror! My enjoyment of this picture was ruined by the dragging screenplay (some editing would’ve helped), the lack of physical action, the spiteful lead character and the whole message angle getting in the way of what could’ve been a frightening movie. Some refer to this opus as a cult classic but for me...it was a cult bore-fest. You would think that a film involving killer wolves on the loose in the city would be an enthralling ride, but not this canine; it\'s too busy barking us to death.
The film was shot in New York City.