Before you delve into this review, be sure to take a look at the rest of the Halloween marathon!
Werewolf is the latest movie by Polish director Adrian Panek. It follows a group of child holocaust survivors who inhabit a nearby home and must overcome hunger, fear and blood-thirsty dogs.
The synopsis alone is bursting with originality. Horror films set around WW2 is nothing new and most within the genre fall into a large group of straight-to-DVD schlock. But this unique blend of genre and setting seems to allow for a break away from such schlock.
The film opens in 1945, during the evacuations of the concentration camps. Nazi soldiers killing POW on sight, feeding them to dogs, anything to assure they’re gone by the time enemy soldiers arrive. In one of the cabins are a group of children. Unsure of what to do they perform exercises, usually commanded to them by the Nazis. So unsure of what to do, they continue until found in the morning. Once found they’re liberated and sent to be cared for in a nearby home.
Within the first few days, it’s clear something is amiss. Dead bodies found in the woods, a sense of being followed, people being attacked. It’s all very mysterious and seems to be building up to something big. It’s precisely this that spells the beginning of the end for the movie.
What’s being built up never comes. Or not in as big a way as one would expect. There are multiple hints throughout the film that werewolves are present: the children speaking of myths of Nazi soldiers turning into werewolves, the extent to which bodies/injuries are found and the general mystique behind something we’d already seen in the opening scene. Instead, dogs merely appear at the house and the entire set up is ruined and we’re left feeling genuinely foolish.
This one mistake comes as a bit of a metaphor for the entire film – different ideas come into play that never pays off. It feels like a first draft of the script was given the ok and filmed as is. It creates a complete tonal mess, one that even the finest of cinematography and acting can’t hide.
Werewolf had a lot of potential in its idea alone, but poor directing and especially poor writing let it down.
Rating = 2/5