The Company of Wolves
--Reviewed by Lindy Loo
Plotline: I'm not quite sure this movie HAS much of a plot-line, but I can at least say the following--the book is based on the short story by Angela Carter and is directed by Neil Jordan. It is moreso a fairy tale than a horror movie in a lot of ways, revolving around a variety of stories about "the big bad wolf" or "the wolf in man's clothing." Angela Lansbury plays the grandmother of a "Little Red Riding Hood" and most of the films focuses on the stories she tells her granddaughter about the wolves in the forest and straying off the path.
Scariness factor: Moreso creepy and weird in the way that Grimm fairy tales and the like usually are. I am having a hard time truly considering this a horror movie (though it has certain aspects that might peg it as such), so I'd be hard-pressed to say it was truly "scary."
Originality: If one is going to look at it AS a horror movie, and in comparison to other werewolf movies out there, this is probably its strong-point. There are many layers of meaning in this movie--the werewolf is not just the source of scares. He represents man, sexuality, loss of innocence, etc. in a way that is much more complicated than most werewolf movies, and I'm sure in part to the feminist reworking of Angela Carter.
Other High Points: This movie has some FANTASTIC transformation scenes as "werewolf" movies go. And many of them. So werewolf-fans will not be disappointed. One of the best transformation scenes consists of the mouth of a man widening to ridiculous proportions as the wolf and his snout emerge through it--why no one has ever though of this way of transforming man into wolf before is beyond me, but it is particularly apropos given the repeated idea that "some wolves you can easily recognize because they are hairy on the outside; but the worst wolves of all are those that you can't perceive, the ones who are hairy on the INSIDE."
Also, the fairy tale qualities of this movie are really visually interesting--there are many unsettling dream sequences, and reality shifts back and forth in a way that is successfully unsettling.
Other Complaints: The movie has the feel of a Masterpiece Theater movie--in ways I can't quite pinpoint, it feels a bit "made-for-television" which I didn't particularly care for, especially since I normally really quite dig Neil Jordan's directing and cinematographic choices. Also, it has a terribly heavy-handed and annoying 1980's-esque score and (to accompany it) a very 1980's-esque penchant for slow-motion scenes which get to be a little excessive at times. Also, it seemed to have terrible sound-quality, though it could just be my copy. The highs were way too high and the lows way too low.
Labels: B movies