Wolfen - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wolfen Reviews

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½ June 29, 2016
Cool little slow burning detective thriller. Great cast and sense of dread. The kills are a little over the top though, and the end was a bit lame...
April 30, 2016
Really, this should be called The Wolves of Wall Street. What a time warp this film is. No forensics, mobiles, computers (as we know them), but plenty of noble savages - the Indians, wolves cleaning up after the white man, corporate greed, and the decay of New York, as it was in the late 70s and very early 80s.
April 1, 2016
I was expecting a pretty bad film simply because it comes from an era of bad excuses for horror films. When I saw that Albert Finney was the main man my jaw dropped. He doesn't fit into this film at all but he did make it a lot more interesting and, to be fair, it is a few notches above it's competitors of the time. Not your typical werewolf movie that I thought it was.
½ October 22, 2015
This aged terribly. I have a feeling it was interesting and new when it came out but it's a complete mess now. The wolf-vision effects are grating, the acting is wooden, the stereotypes are rampant, there's a really bizarre sex scene thats just totally inconsequential and the pacing is atrocious. Disappointing for Albert Finney, though I will say his accent is pretty spot on. The good would be the use of actual wolves, but it's few and far between. This would be a great candidate for a remake that in a twist reveal highlights the wolves as the sympathetic ones.
September 27, 2015
Offensive and stupid with ridiculous nudity scenes
½ July 8, 2015
Wolfen" is based on the Whitley Striber novel.A police detective(Albert Finney)is investigating a series of brutal murders in New York City that point toward a wolf-like killer,or possibly a whole pack of them.Director Michael Wadleigh uses the horror movie backdrop as a venue for commentary on class,environmentalism,industrialization and Native American reality and myths.The mystery surrounding bloodthirsty creatures is excellent and there are some truly intense and bloody scenes of hunting.The use of a polarization effect and a steadicam to represent the wolves' POV is stunningly eerie.The film is loaded with the atmosphere of urban decay and the score by James Horner is particularly memorable.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2015
Adapted from a novel of the same name, yet after a bit of reading the movie is quite different from the book. With a title like this you'd think this film was about werewolves, but you'd be wrong. In fact it kinda depends on what source you go by, the book is sort of about werewolves, a species of creature that are descended from wolves, intelligent and probably more like werewolves than in this film. In the movie there are no werewolves and no creatures descended from the wolf line.

And there lies the problem with this movie, no werewolves. The plot is all about these mysterious murders in New York, bodies are turning up badly mutilated or half eaten and everyone knows there aren't any alligators in the sewers doing this so...what gives?! Fear not, along comes the most unlikely monster hunter in the form of Albert Finney to try and crack the case, with the help of his female partner and the plucky coroner played by Gregory Hines. Now this isn't a jokey action packed supernatural thriller, oh no, its actually a reasonably slow paced detective story as we follow Finney and co snooping around in the Bronx.

For the most part its quite intriguing I can't deny, I had no clue who or what was actually killing these people. You're not so sure if its actually a supernatural beastie or just some looney tune, someone close to Finney perhaps. Without trying to give the game away it is disappointing how they go about this movie, the alterations they make. Like I said in the book there are actually genuine creatures on the prowl, here in the movie they substitute monsters for wolf spirits, or more accurately, Native American wolf spirits. I'm still not sure if these wolves were actually the Native American descendants Finney's character follows up on, these guys claim they are shapeshifters in the movie. Seeing as in the book the creatures are descendants of wolves, it makes sense in this movie that the wolf spirits on the loose are Native American descendants. It never really confirms this concept (I don't think) but I'm guessing the local Natives were the wolves, or they were able to summon them maybe.

What really disappointed me was the fact the wolves actually did look like proper wolves, they actually used real wolves in the movie. This of course ties in with the new Native American angle they use, but I found it an anti-climax because I wanted to see something more terrifying, more of a monster, pack of monsters. The whole movie has this pretty decent eerie atmosphere going on showing us wolf POV, how they stalk their prey, their vision, how they attract prey by making ghostly baby noises etc...Then they merely turn out to be actual wolves that you can see in the zoo or where ever. I didn't find that scary, after all the great buildup, dark moody moments and horrific deaths...they just turn out to be actual wolves.

Speaking of the wolf POV shots, well blow me down if John McTiernan didn't swipe ideas from this movie for 'Predator'. I kid you not! I have read this movie is notable for its early use of thermography/thermal imaging with the wolf vision sequences. You see these sequences and right away you know McTiernan probably pinched the idea for his Arnie vehicle, but jazzed it up a bit with bolder colours. Its these sequences that really add some spice to the wolf antics in the movie, mainly because for the most part you believe its a monster or werewolf and these sequences are darn effective conveying that.
What's more I do firmly believe Alan Silvestri also pinched the musical score from this film for that particular Arnie vehicle! You listen to it throughout this film and its pretty obvious if you ask me, its nearly identical! All this time I thought McTiernan and co had spearheaded such an original franchise and material.

Its certainly dated these days but the gore effects hold up well, very well actually. There's something a bit off about it all though, I guess the sight of these Native American fellas and their own little bar in downtown NY doesn't quite seem to fit in with the surroundings. I can't help but think the whole thing would have worked better in the wilderness or a smallish town out west, the sight of these wolves running around the city looks more out of place than scary really. Again the choice of Finney in the lead was an odd one if you ask me, he also doesn't quite fit into the NY surroundings. Its definitely an off-kilter movie and slightly misleading at the same time, the book does sound much better and more of what you'd expect.
½ June 29, 2015
Pleasantly surprised with this one!
June 8, 2015
More a police procedural than an out and out horror, this is stylish, atmospheric and very well done
April 13, 2015
#wolvesagainstgentrification get Brussell Rand on the phone!!
½ April 9, 2015
More gritty than the howling add the great Albert Finney and you got something.
½ January 31, 2015
It gets compared to The Howling and An American Werewolf in London, but I found it more comparable to Cat People (albeit, this one with wolf people instead of cat people). It's a bit slow to get going, but the final act is great. The POV of the wolves gets tiresome, so seeing the wolves snarling and howling in the final act as they kill and terrorize people is much more exciting than the first hour or so. There's a bit of blood with a pretty good decapitation scene in the movie. A very overlooked and under appreciated "werewolf" movie, but maybe not a classic either. Worth checking out if you like the aforementioned movies.
October 15, 2014
Criminally underrated! Probably overshadowed by the howling and American werewolf in London which came out around the same time. This is the only horror film Albert Finney did and also the only film other than Woodstock that mike Wadleigh did. The direction is pretty amazing and it is a shame he never did other films. Also this is not a werewolf,movie it's is a b horror with wolves and social commentary. I can't say enough about it go watch!!
½ September 14, 2014
in retrospective, a brave little film for its time and some very good acting, as for a b-movie.
April 4, 2014
It's not too exciting, and the missing werewolf effects (replaced with a real scary wolf) kinda stands apart from the other effect-driven werewolf movies of the 80's. But there are creepy moments, thrilling scenes, and some gory bits. Overall, it's forgettable but not a waste of time.
½ February 25, 2014
Would be 4 for style, atmosphere, and potentially great story with lots of portents. But 3 for muddled storytelling and missed opportunities. Most parts work separately but together forget to make a whole. Still, its most unusual and worth the time spent.
October 25, 2013
Sophisticated, Intelligent script builds mystery and suspense well & makes ecological implications about urban decay - nothing new here, but very well played.
The sparse dialogue and the low-key interactions may prevent connection to the characters.
The horror and the mystery elements create the interest. Overall, it's a solid effort, and worth a look.
½ July 21, 2013
Kind of gets forgotten today. Possibly it's because this came out in the same year as An American Werewolf in London and The Howling. Still, this is a solid werewolf movie in its own right.
February 15, 2013
One of my favorite horror movies ever.
½ December 11, 2012
"Our god is an Indian, who turns into a werewolf."
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