Werewolf – Film Review
Director: Adrian Panek
Cast: Kamil Polnisiak, Nicolas Przygoda, Sonia Mietielica
by Sarah Morgan
As a horror film fan, for me the word werewolf conjures up images of Oliver Reed ripping his shirt in The Curse of the Werewolf or Henry Hull and Lon Chaney Jr sprouting hair in unmentionable places in Werewolf of London and The Wolfman respectively.
But this movie has nothing to do with full moons or death by silver bullets. Instead, it’s a post-World War Two thriller involving displaced children.
When we first meet the main characters, they’re incarcerated in a concentration camp, fighting for survival. And then, even after their liberation by Soviet soldiers, little changes. Rather than looking forward to freedom and happiness, as would happen in a more conventional film, their situation doesn’t really improve. Instead, new threats await.
The children are transported to a remote chateau located in a forest clearing, where they’re taken care of by an embittered and not very maternal foster mother. There’s no running water or electricity, but for a brief moment, the youngsters can relax.
However, matters change quickly when a group of dogs, who had been stationed at a now defunct prison camp, arrive. Hungry and desperate, they attack humans and attempt to break into the property. The foster mother is killed, leaving the children to fend for themselves while hemmed in, once again imprisoned.
Fear, pain and starvation beckon, until one of the youngsters, an outsider even within this disparate group, works out the German words used to control the hounds, allowing the children to fight back against other threats lurking in the woods.
“Tense and compelling”
There’s little in the way of music in Werewolf, giving the film an almost documentary feel, while the performances of the young cast are phenomenal and hauntingly believable. It’s been described as a mix of Lord of the Flies and Assault on Precinct 13, and it’s easy to see why – it’s certainly just as tense and compelling.
The ending is somewhat enigmatic – will the group’s members survive once they leave the the chateau? Are they tentatively forming a new family? We can only guess.
Sadly, there are no special features on the disc, but that shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment of a genuinely gripping tale; you certainly won’t miss Reed, Hull or Chaney Jr.