Wolf (1994)

Drama, Horror, Romance
Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan
Publisher Will Randall becomes a werewolf and has to fight to keep his job.
  • Columbia Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 17 Jun 1994 Released:
  • 21 Oct 1997 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Jim Harrison, Wesley Strick Writer:
  • Mike Nichols Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Nicholson is a wolf... no surprise7/10

I like this film. It is different as a horror movie, because it really isn't a horror movie - and yet here we have a man turning into a wolf, he starts killing people at night, and we have the rabid horror music stalking our ears when the wolf is on the prowl.

I like the characters, I like the slow pace and the calm moments and I especially like Jack Nicholson when Randall's senses start to come alive. He is extremely well cast for this film, I don't think many others would actually convey the animal inside like he does. Pfieffer's character is, although formulaic, a relief among all the hard-assed men of this film. The ending is a bit silly, but nonetheless odd and intriguing.

Yep.I like this movie. It's fun to watch and it's great to see Nicholson act like the animal we all really think he is but don't dare to find out.
A Classy Werewolf Story8/10
Here's a werewolf movie done with some style and some class. This may be the only werewolf-business world combination. It features effective villains played by James Spader and Christopher Plummer. I've always found Spader an easy guy to dislike, in any film.

Jack Nicholson is the lead guy, however, and is refreshingly low-key, especially for him. I don't believe he ever raised his voice in this movie, acting very subdued throughout.

There isn't as much action as you see in most modern-day horror movies but yet this is such an intense story that you don't lose interest. It's pretty good in the visual department, too, and it doesn't hurt to ogle Michelle Pfeiffer.

Even though the profanity is pretty low for a '90s film, when it's there it's needless. They could could have done this movie, believe it or not, without any and it still would have been good. I'm not complaining. I still recommend this, but not for people who are looking for an action--packed vampire film.
cerebral horror at its finest10/10

"Wolf" posits that the werewolf bite is not necessarily a curse, if what you really crave is a more wild and natural lifestyle than is possible in our "civilized" society. Quite cleverly, the story is set in a publishing company, an environment that is both civilized and predatory at the same time.

Nicholson gives one of his best performances of recent years here, playing against type - he's actually a nice, normal guy! Spader, on the other hand, does what he always does; he acts like a sleaze, and very good he is at it, too. Pfeiffer makes a tough, proactive heroine, and gets a much better part than you'd expect for a woman in a horror film (horror is very much a boy's genre, I'm afraid).

I'm going to get snooty here and suggest that most people just don't understand "Wolf," probably because its ideal audience is quite small. Fans of Nicholson's usual drama fare dislike the movie for its horror content, and fans of violent horror dislike the movie because it's lacking in action and gore. But if you like thoughtful horror that has more brains than blood, you're part of the small group of people who'll get something out of this.
Wolfman Jack - 8 (excellent depiction of the corporate werewolf culture)8/10
Even in the confines of big skyscrapers, it's a dog eat dog world.

Simply put, WOLF is a class act. The director is legendary. The acting is subdued yet electrically charged. To top things off, the Hitchcock style score by Ennio Morricone draws you in from the opening credits straight to the end. WOLF is such a unique installment to the werewolf tradition that it easily bursts through the bars of any category you place it in.

Mike Nichols boasts a career that is a study in itself. After artistically defining a post-war generation with the Graduate in 1967, he has been very selective with his projects behind the camera. Twenty-seven years after the Graduate, the veteran Nichols rises to the challenge of weaving a wide range of adult themes into one coherent werewolf movie. Stylistically, the shots and cinematography featured in the movie hearken back to an adventurous 70's spirit that has been abandoned in modern film. The combination of quick and slow zooms, along with expansive cuts of open spaces make the 125 minute story both rhythmic and engrossing.

WOLF is not the conventional werewolf movie we're accustomed to seeing, as the film is meant to induce a snicker as opposed to a scream. Although the scare factor takes a marked jump towards the end, the movie isn't really a horror movie. It focuses mostly on the canine tricks of corporate power, double-crossing, and primordial carnal knowledge. In this respect, James Spader upstages Jack Nicholson and almost steals the show.

Still, there's all the good stuff that comes with werewolf movies. The curse is a contagion transmitted by a bite. Who's the monster, and what makes the monster fearsome? What happens when Jack starts to turn? How far can Mike Nichols upset our comfort level? For all those horror fans out there, the make-up team did a superb job, no doubt influenced by the disjointed transformations of the original black and white wolf-man classic.

As a telltale sign of the film's sophistication, the werewolf theme is dramatically eclipsed by the true storyline – Nicholson's over-the-hill struggles in the publishing business. In the final examination, with corporate culture in mind, WOLF tends to resemble Wall Street or As Good as It Gets more than it does the Howling or American Werewolf in London. Nichols does a masterful job seamlessly weaving canine trickery into the workplace. Jack's heightened sense of smell detects his coworker's early morning Tequila. His pointed ears pick up juicy office gossip. In addition to these scenes, WOLF introduces an innovative corporate idea – urination and marking of territory, something that every sensible dog does when he feels like it!

The only detractor from WOLF is the quick and dirty relationship between Pfiffer and Nicholson. Even though the film is billed as a werewolf movie, this relationship somewhat stands as a centerpiece. To be sure, the sparse exchanges between the two stars feature witty dialog with plenty of chemistry. But despite this potential, the relationship somehow rings hollow and gets trampled beneath the other story lines that are taking place.

Apparently Sharon Stone was offered the female lead but turned the role down. To some extent, I don't blame her. The development of Michelle Pfiffer's character in the movie was an open question mark.

The Pfiffer-Nicholson love story culminates in WOLF's unique ending. If you happen to catch this movie, you can frolic through the woods with Jack along to Morricone's synthesized arpeggios. Then determine for yourself whether the ending adds or detracts from the movie. It's been a quandary for me ever since I saw WOLF for the first time in 199(?).

JY

Jimboduck-dot-com
Brilliant visuals and excellent acting create a very underrated film.7/10

I saw this film when it first appeared in the cinema and I can remember my disappointment at the wolf scenes. Now, five years on, I realise what a gem this film is.

The cinematography is very well done, providing slick shots throughout which still hold their own against current films. The acting is very good with James Spader oozing sleaziness with every single look, Michelle Pfieffer playing a hardened woman, and Jack Nicholson being, well, Jack Nicholson, but hairier.

The opening sequence grabs you straight away, stock shocks, but they work fantastically, from then on I found myself impressed on just about every following scene.

Nicholson is very good at underplaying the beginning of his transformation as he starts to discover his newly heightened senses, but he comes into his own when his powers bring him new found confidence and self assurance.

Some of the wolf effects are a little cheesy, and the appearance of David Schwimmer playing a cop caused me to flash into Friends mode - he even has a friends-like line, could he _be_ anymore Ross like? Aside from these little niggles the film has an excellent love story with fantastic interaction between Nicholson and Pfieffer with some wry dialog. It's got great lighting and very good cinematography throw in a superb Morricone soundtrack and a cool ending and you've got a great film.