Wolfen (1981)

Horror, Thriller
Albert Finney, Diane Venora, Edward James Olmos, Gregory Hines
A New York cop investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks.
  • 24 Jul 1981 Released:
  • 13 Aug 2002 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Whitley Strieber (based on the novel by), David Ey Writer:
  • Michael Wadleigh Director:
  • N/A Website:

Trailer:

all time favorite suspense film!9/10
I can understand why horror fans would be disappointed in this film? But who cares? There are enough stupid horror movies around to satisfy those who need gore and screams. Wolfen tackles some very heavy concepts all within the context of a police procedural, and I never really felt the movie was stereotyping Indians. There is just a lot of material to cover and I thought the scenes with the Indians were amazingly focused and powerful. The acting is absolutely phenomenal--I wish Finney and Hines worked together in other movies...the atmosphere in this film really conveys the desolation of the burned out slums, and there is a feeling of like, "Wow, what the hell ARE we doing with the earth." But it never got preachy and I think Finney portrayed the more subtle realizations brought forth by this great film. Scott in Boca Raton, FL
Great twist on the usual man in monster suit shocker10/10

Wolfen is something different to the many monster films floating around. If you watch this film expecting to see the usual mix of no brain slash and gore then you will perhaps be disappointed or as was in my case pleasantly surprised. Reading from other comments on this film it is easy to see that it has been widely misunderstood.

Wolfen is not a Werewolf/Horror film although at times it does attempt to be so, which is where the confusion arises for the viewer. On one side we have the Wolfen portrayed as highly evolved beings merely protecting their environment yet on the other side they shown to be remorseless killers as and where the plot dictates. However do not let this paradox put you off a film that is both scary and genuinely thought provoking.

The scenes set in and around areas of urban decay, particularly that of the church, are chilling and suspenseful. Whilst the Wolfen POV camera work is groundbreaking and still effective by today's standards. Wolfen on the whole is a well made film, excellent use of music (or lack of it)to generate suspense and quality actors and acting help bring you into the story behind the Wolfen.

For those that wish to critisise the beach scene when Edward James Olmos dances naked across the sand as demeaning to Indians, well I think they're rather missing the point. Surely the film is trying to show the prejudices of Albert Finney's character rather than belittle any Indian custom.

In summary a film with a message that chooses to show intelligence and reason in its horrors.
Eery, mythical eco-horror thriller from the guy who helped make Woodstock happen7/10
An almost forgotten gem. I really liked the eery atmosphere in this one; great actors, great music - and really outstanding cinematography. I've never seen New York portrayed as grim and terrifying - and yet as beautiful - as in this film. I wouldn't call this a werewolf movie and it's certainly not your usual horror film either; although it does have many characteristics of a genre movie (even some pre-Predator style distorted camera effects), it is very much its own beast. There are no fancy transformations, no groundbreaking visual effects from the likes of Rick Baker, Rob Bottin or Stan Winston - but there are superb visuals of another kind. And there's tension, suspense and a fascinating story that gripped me right from the start. There are also some very graphic, gory moments, but they are few and far between. Director Michael Wadleigh has an interesting background: he was the dude who made history in 1969 by making Woodstock happen. He took Strieber's werewolf novel and brought something personal to it. Call it a mythical eco-horror thriller if you will, it's certainly something special. 7 out of 10 from me.

Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Fun B-flicks/low budget films: http://www.imdb.com/list/YV1Lxq7WLkU/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
They might be gods!6/10
Now, the premise of this story is pretty far fetched, but it's horror story after all. Expecting some wolf-man story, you are surprised at what the predator really is. And, the fact that they are providing some societal benefit by clearing the street of the homeless is really getting out there.

They would have gone unnoticed had they not killed some high mucky muck and his wife. Albert Finney brilliantly plays Dewey, a detective dragged out of a semi-retirement to solve these hot murders. He is teamed with a delightful Diane Venora (The Jackal, True Crime) to do what no one else can.

Gregory Hines ably assists in the hunt with his lab expertise and consummate acting skills. It is a mystery that makes no sense until Edward James Olmos, as a Native American, gives the supernatural explanation.

Forget all that and concentrate on the great performances, especially Finney's.
There is no defense...5/10
"They can hear a cloud pass overhead, the rhythm of your blood. They can track you by yesterday's shadow. And they can tear the scream from your throat. There is no defense." I love it when you can tell a movie is gonna be great just from it's tagline. Wolfen is one of the most thoroughly underrated films of the 80's if not film history. From moment one with it's dreamy, monochromatic, animalistic tracking shots Wolfen sets itself up as a different kind of werewolf film. With Wolfen you get three movies in one a Dirty Harry-esquire cop investigation movie with Albert Finney and Gregory Harrison turning in fine performances as the ones investigating. A graphically intense horror film, with a menacingly sadistic, creepily cool performance from Edward James Olmos and of course the barely there "Wolfen" creatures. Lastly you get a statement on environmental issues and the hierarchy of society. Tom Noonan in his pre-Manhunter existence gives the movie a touch of class as an animal lover who wants to study the "Wolfen." If you're expecting a comedic werewolf movie such as "The Howling" or "An American Werewolf in London" this film isn't for you. But if you want a great suspense mystery, with dazzling visuals and one of the greatest endings in history check Wolfen out.