The Wolfman

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Wolfman Movie Poster Image
Official monster remake is extra gory -- and a bit flat.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 24 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

The movie carries roughly the same message as the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: All humans have an animal side that we must learn to control to live in a civilized world. But beyond that, the point is unclear. One of the movie's bad guys believes that the beast must be set free, while another wants to hunt and kill the hero/wolfman. The hero's goal is to put an end to all the beastliness, but he can only achieve this through beastly acts: murder and death. In essence, the movie seems to say that if you have the tough luck to unleash your inner beast, too bad, because it's curtains for you.

Positive role models & representations

Hero Lawrence Talbot shows some positive behavior, even though he turns into a wolf and fillets half of his neighbors. After bouts of horror, disbelief, and self-pity, he gradually accepts his fate and decides to do the right thing, even if it means his own demise. He works to protect Gwen and dedicates himself to stopping the other wolfman, which is still on the loose and killing by choice. Gwen, too, works hard to find a cure for her friend and puts herself at risk to do so.

Violence

Strong but not constant fantasy violence and gore. The wolfmen slice and dice their way through several victims. Viewers see blood spattering, severed body parts, scattered entrails, and organ removal. These are usually accompanied by sudden, swift movements and intense growling and yowling. There's a gory "wound stitching" scene. Also many guns, gunshots, and gunshot victims. Additionally, some scary, shocking nightmare sequences.

Sex

Lawrence and Gwen flirt a little (he teaches her how to skip stones and holds her hand). Later, they share one small kiss.

Language

Minimal uses of words like "damn" and "whore."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Lawrence drinks often during the first part of the movie, but never to excess. Several scenes take place inside a pub, with locals drinking and smoking in the background.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wolfman (starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins) is an extra-gory remake of the same-named 1941 classic (starring Lon Chaney Jr.). The new film is filled with slashings, slicings, and dicings, with lots of blood, gore, and body parts, as well as guns and shooting, scary nightmare sequences, and loud noises. The main female character (Emily Blunt) never develops much of a personality and seems too passive (a wasted opportunity to improve upon the original film). In other words, this movie is only for your oldest teens even if it looks like it could go with other sort of "super hero" genre movies.

User Reviews

Adult Written byclarence August 6, 2015
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo July 1, 2010
This new take on werewolves is fairly predictable. The acting is what really saves the movie. All the actors do a good job of getting viewers to look past the o... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old January 15, 2013

don't even put it in the DVD player!

horrible! awful it's got horror, gore, and death written all over it. oh there is no way you'll be able to stand such a film. my suggestion is for 17... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byantoineisthebest March 27, 2011

for mature pre-teen

for mature pre-teen not really scary but some part won't go away you're kid I saw it in theater with some friend and a friend older brother whose 18... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 1891, actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns from America to his home in England, reunites with his father (Anthony Hopkins), and learns that his brother has just died after being brutally mauled by some horrible creature. He promises his brother's fiancée, Gwen (Emily Blunt), that he'll do what he can to find out what happened, but while on the hunt, he ends up being bitten. He survives the bite, but on the next full moon transforms into a rampaging wolf man. An agent from Scotland Yard (Hugo Weaving) captures him and throws him into an asylum ... but by the next full moon, Talbot realizes what he must do to stop the killing.

Is it any good?

The new WOLFMAN makes an earnest attempt to keep some of the spooky atmosphere and tragic character depth of its predecessor, along with the expected new, high levels of gore. But somehow the characters never spark to life, the atmosphere seems uncertain, and the bloody scenes wind up becoming the film's highlight.

It's as if, in their obsession with both updating and staying true to the source material, the filmmakers forgot the central theme: the battle between man's intellectual and primal sides. The movie never warms up enough to elicit any human emotions, nor does it ever cut loose enough to feel completely crazy. Del Toro, with his sad, soulful eyes, seems perfect to step into Lon Chaney Jr.'s shoes, but he doesn't show enough vulnerability; the character is too determined. Likewise, Blunt's character is underwritten and seems a waste of her talents. The original is still better.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie's violence  and gore made them feel? Was it unsettling, or did you have another response? What about the nightmare sequences?

  • Talk about a person's "animal side" and "intellectual side." When do these sides come out in real life? When we're angry? When we're happy? How easy or difficult is it to control these sides?

  • The movie's second werewolf spent years locking himself up during full moons but eventually discovered that he enjoyed running free. Is it better to lock up your animal self or let it run free?

Movie details

For kids who love the paranormal

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