Del Toro. Hopkins. Weaving. Werewolves. "Blackmoor, England 1891". $100 million spent on fog, brambles and one crackerjack London sequence. How can it go wrong?
Here's how it could
have: by taking itself seriously. Dean Ebert, take it away
Gothic horror stories seem more digestible when set in once-great British country houses and peopled with gloomy introverts, especially when the countryside involves foggy moors and a craggy waterfall. This is, after all, a story set before the advent of modern psychology, back when a man's fate could be sealed by ancestral depravity.
Nailed it again, Rog. This isn't a grand, nation-hopping adventure like Dracula
, nor is it a romantic, operatic adventure like 1999's The Mummy
. It's about a werewolf who rips men's guts out, not because of any particular reason, just because
. The hero is doomed not only by ancestry, but because he looks like a werewolf from the start! No Keanu-in-Victorian-England piffle here - taking notes, Francis?
And the movie delivers, with a blessedly short running time (100 min.), a babe who's beautiful but not distractingly pretty, excellent actors in Del Toro, Hopkins and Weaving, in his best post-Matrix
role, and plenty of solid jump moments. There's also lots of MTV-style quick cutting and other modern editing tricks, but they give the movie a welcome kick. Also, in a fun detail, look for Charlie Chaplin's daughter as the old gypsy woman!
The only flaws? A brief but pointless intro and outro voiceover and an unnecessarily protracted death scene. (Can't anyone
die in movies without giving a speech?) That, and I kept expecting Brendan Fraser to show up.
This is a B-movie done right, so a B
it gets. It's not a modern classic like The Mummy
, but it earns a place on the same shelf.