The remake of The Wolfman (1941)
, released in 2010 and starring Benicio del Toro. A Pragmatic Adaptation
and more of an Homage
to its predecessor, some of the most noticeable differences from the original are that it's now set in 1891 England
as opposed to 1940s
Wales, and is also much darker
and more violent
than its counterpart.
Lawrence Talbot returns from America to his home estate to investigate the disappearance of his brother. Upon arriving home, he learns that his brother is dead, and the worst is yet to come...
The film adds new characters and expands upon old
, and the werewolf designs are kept similar to the designs in the original and even use real makeup and costumes instead of relying on CGI.
Despite not being a box office success, the film did receive an Oscar for Best Makeup. Shortly afterwards, Universal announced plans to make the Wolf Man
into a direct-to-video film franchise. The first one, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us
, was released in October 2012.
This film has the examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion:
- The 2010 version explores a very different side of the relationship between Lawrence and his father as well as the psychological aspects the 1941 version wanted to do intentionally.
- Gwen and Lawrence's romance gets a little more foundation than in the original, mostly because this time around Gwen doesn't exactly have a living fiancé. This also does away with the creepy stalker undertones that took hold of the beginning of their relationship in the original.
- The side effects of becoming a werewolf, such as fast healing, more acute hearing, and increased physical strength are shown.
- Aberline is a new character, added to serve as a sort of an Anti-Villain.
- Sir John's butler, Singh, is a new character as well.
- Albeit very briefly, we actually get to see Lawrence's brother and mother, who only received a passing mention in the original.
- In the extended cut, a good chunk of pre-establishment about Lawrence's father and mother are left out.
- Lawrence Talbot.
- Aberline. But then again, when has Hugo Weaving ever played anything but a badass?
- Badass Grandpa:
- Ballroom Blitz: The extended version has Lawrence's rampage through London take him into a conservatory ballroom. Carnage ensues.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: The climax.
- Beast and Beauty: Lawrence and Gwen technically qualify as this.
- Bedlam House: Lawerence Talbot is sent to Lambert Asylum as the police believe he's a random but human nutcase rather than, well, the Wolf Man. Their attempts to cure him of believing he is a werewolf includes forcefully dunking him, repeatedly, into ice water (this was an actual medical treatment at the time). As you can imagine, once the next full moon comes around, he escapes quite easily, killing most of the doctors in the process.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy:
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Subverted. During one of Lawrence's rampages, he chases one of his hunters into a bog. Trapped, the hunter fires his revolver at Lawrence. It doesn't work, and the hunter attempts to shoot himself. Turns out that he spent his six on the beast, and gets graphically decapitated instead.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Talbots got issues to say the least.
- Blind and the Beast: Played with in a deleted scene. The beast crashes a masked party, drawn to the voice of a blind singer's solo. The party members don't scream because they think he's in (excellent) costume. The blind singer delicately reaches out to feel his face, having stopped singing to inspect the huffing and growling in front of her. Just when the wolf man is about to let her touch his face and establish the only nonviolent interaction the beast had in the entire movie, a guest suddenly tugs on his sleeve to interrupt. The rampage continues, starting with that guest having werewolf fangs in his skull and leaving the party with the singer intact, splattered with blood that isn't hers.
- Blood from the Mouth: One of the more squicky parts of the werewolf transformation. What? You think those pointy teeth just poof into your mouth?! Might also possibly be from internal organs shifting around and what not...
- Bloodier and Gorier: Far gorier than the original. Numerous extras are mauled to death and even decapitated. The main character's transformation is also considerably more graphic.
- Body Horror: All the transformation sequences, in all their bone-cracking, blood vomiting horror.
- Campbell Country: Blackmoor definitely fits this trope, and it even comes complete with scary woods!
- Composite Character: Sir John Talbot replaces the Gypsy's son, Bela, as the werewolf who gives Lawrence his curse. Ben Talbot replaces Frank Andrews as Gwen's fiancé.
- Death by Cameo: Rick Baker (the head make-up designer for the remake's wolfman and noted special effects guru for films like An American Werewolf in London) plays one of the first victims.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight After Gwen's Shoot the Dog moment, Lawrence returns to human form and spends his last moments of life in Gwen's arms before he appropriately dies at the end
- Diving Save: Lawrence saves a gypsy child by doing this right before the first werewolf attacks her.
- Downer Ending: Lawrence dies, as does his entire family, and Aberline ends up infected with lycanthropy.
- Dream Within a Dream: During one of Lawrence's hallucinations while in the Asylum and while healing.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Lawrence after learning of Ben's death and then seeing what's left of him.
- The End... Or Is It?: Combined with Oh, Crap at the conclusion, as the film ends with Inspector Aberline clutching his bite-wounds and realizing he's been infected with lycanthropy too.
- Ethereal Choir: This is Danny Elfman we're talking about, but it's not used as much as an effect compared to his other scores and is only used in a few scenes.
- Erotic Dream: Err, Somewhat. During one of Lawrence's hallucinations in the asylum, we see a back-naked Gwen for a few moments. Probably foreshadowing to his growing feelings toward her and a possible subconscious desire to be with her.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: More like "Evil Detecting Horses", in this case. Also evil detecting bear and evil detecting deer. Ironically averted by the single one dog (it always growls at Lawrence, well before he is infected, while it is completely oblivious to the original werewolf because he is its owner).
- Excuse Me Coming Through: A more humorous moment in the film where Aberline invades a house and interrupts an in-progress violin recital in order to catch up to Lawrence during his London rampage.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Complete with the classic little Victorian British boy in a cap on the corner of the sidewalk selling newspapers.
- Extremely Dusty Home: Talbot Hall is certainly untidy to say the least.
- Failed a Spot Check: Dr. Hoenneger gets so wrapped up in discussing Lawrence's delusions and the treatment he's devised, that he's the last person in the room to notice Lawrence is transforming right behind him.
- Famous Last Words:
- "Help! Help me! Somebody help me! Help!" Ben Talbot
- "Help me! Help!" Doctor Hoenneger
- "You're heir to my kingdom, Lawrence. You've always been heir to my kingdom." Sir John Talbot
- "Thank you." Lawrence Talbot
- Follow the Leader: Was released to capitalise on the paranormal romance trend started by Twilight.
- Forging Scene: When the village brings their silver to be forged into bullets for protection.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: When Lawrence begins his first transformation, his father moves into the shadows, with his eyes creepily glowing in the darkness — albeit only for a moment.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Love it or hate it, the movie had awesome costumes.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Almost played straight at the beginning, when Ben Talbot is killed by the werewolf. When the werewolf makes its first strike, you get a closeup of Ben's pained and shocked expression (which was all that was shown in the trailers), until the camera pans down to show his intestines beginning to leak out. Played partially straight when the werewolf slaughters the members of the hunting party who get trapped in the pit (the shots are too close and dark to see much beyond blood and flesh flying). In the same scene, one of the hunters fires his shotgun, and in the muzzle flash you see the werewolf standing behind him before the scene cuts.
- Hannibal Lecture: From Sir John Talbot, appropriately enough.
- Healing Factor: One of the upsides of being a werewolf.
- Herr Doctor: The film has a very terrifying sequence set in a European asylum apparently staffed exclusively by this stereotype.
- Hope Spot: In the final scene, we see that Gwen is able to reach Lawrence and stops him from attacking her. It seems, for a moment, that Lawrence may actually pull through. That is, until the hunters show up, and break his moment of clarity, which inevitably forces Gwen to shoot him.
- Horror Struck: Lawrence is initially skeptical to being a werewolf and towards werewolves in general, until, you know, he actually becomes one. Played a little more straight with Aberline, upon realizing he's been bitten.
- I'll Kill You!: Played straight with Lawrence to his father when he learns he was the werewolf who bit him AND killed his mother and brother. Lawrence saying this to the assembled doctors is almost a subversion. Despite the delivery, Lawrence is trying to warn them that he's a dire threat, rather than making a promise of revenge.
- Interrupted Cooldown Hug: Gwen gives Lawrence a Cooldown Hug in the end, but that angry mob just had to come by and ruin everything.
- It's Personal: Lawrence in relation to his own father, who is revealed to have killed his wife and oldest son and bit Lawrence, thus spreading the curse to him.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Lawrence sneaks back into his home and borrows the Loyal Servant's cache of silver shotgun bullets. He finally confronts his father and pulls the trigger... only to have his father smile and say "I removed the powder from those cartridges years ago."
- Jack the Ripper: It's mentioned that Aberline was in charge of the Ripper case before being assigned to Blackmoor. Historically, he was.
- Kill the Ones You Love: The first werewolf kills his wife and son; Lawrence kills his father and almost kills Gwen too.
- Leitmotif: Talbot's werewolf form is always introduced by three short notes on a violin.
- Let Them Die Happy: Lawrence dies in the end, but he stays alive for a few moments to reassure and thank Gwen for "setting him free." However, he dies before learning that he has bitten Aberline and cursed him as well. He could also be happy from realizing that since he was still alive to that point meant he had succeeded in defeating his father, meaning neither of them will hurt anyone again. However, this only makes the ending more tragic when we find out what becomes of Aberline.
- Like Father, Like Son: Lawrence's father is the werewolf who bit him, and in turn, passed his werewolf curse on to him.
- Logo Joke: The film features two versions. In the theatrical cut, the Universal Earth reveals a full moon. The unrated director's cut kept the Art-Deco Globe logo featured in the original 1941 version, albeit a darker version.
- Losing Your Head: Several people are quite headless by the end of this movie.
- Made of Plasticine: You might as well be if you're unfortunate enough to cross paths with the werewolves in this movie.
- Magic Pants: It's also more like Magic Shirts.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender:
- A big offender; dozens of men are killed and messily dismembered on screen while the very few female deaths are merely implied. Or, in the case of Lawrence's mother played for maximum tragedy and horror as against the Gorn the male victims go through.
- A particularly bad example occurs in a deleted scene, in which the werewolf hears a blind woman giving a singing performance and goes to investigate. As he approaches the singer, a man grabs him by the wrist, thinking he's another guest (the performance is also a costume party). It makes sense that the werewolf would freak out and kill the guy for that, given how crazy we see werewolves are. Then we get all of the guests running away, leaving the blind singer alone and confused, not knowing who the growling person in front of her is. She starts touching the werewolf's face and he doesn't do a thing to her! In fact, he doesn't move until Aberline shoots at him through a window! The singer is left entirely untouched.
- Mind Screw / What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Did Gwen really visit Lawrence in the asylum? Or did Sir John for that matter? Is there some hidden symbolism behind the razor and all the candles everywhere?! Plus all the symbolism and foreshadowing in the hallucination sequences. Perhaps Lawrence just imagined the whole movie!
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Most of the movie takes place in sleepy little English hamlet of Blackmoor, that's not ominous at all!
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Gwen stops Aberline from shooting Lawrence, which in turn causes him to get bitten. However, this really doesn't do much good since Gwen ends up shooting Lawrence herself in the end. Although, she's somewhat justified since she was still convinced she could reach Lawrence, and well... she was right. Plus, she probably figured that Lawrence would have finished off Aberline instead of chasing after her instead.
- Whilst in the Hindu Kush, the locals who told Sir John about the feral child in the cave, thus causing him to get infected.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Justified with Lawrence, since in this version he spent most of his life in America where his accent probably dissipated, but it's possible to still hear Sir Anthony's lilt. Since Benicio is a native Spanish speaker, his accent does seem to slip in a few scenes with varying degrees, which in turn might be justifiable as well, since his mother in this version was visibly of some Spanish decent. He still gets Brownie Points for a good effort.
- Not His Sled: Lawrence is not killed by his father, nor does it turn out that Malevra's son is the one who bit him. Instead, his father is the werewolf that killed Lawrence's brother and bit him. The film ends with Lawrence, as a werewolf, killing his transformed father and in turn being shot by Gwen. This leads to a Sequel Hook where we see that the police officer investigating the entire situation had also been bitten.
- Novelization: Jonathan Maberry wrote one. It's noteworthy in that the author only had two months to pen the entire thing, yet the book is generally seen as a big improvement over the film. It mostly adheres to the final cut of the movie, with a couple of scenes added (such as deleted scenes) and more fleshed-out characters. There is only one significant alteration: Lawrence figures out who the werewolf on his own and does so earlier on.
- Or Was It a Dream?: Did Gwen really visit Lawrence in the Asylum or was she just a hallucination?
- Painful Transformation: Turning into a werewolf is much more painful than the ol' days of the stop motion transformation sequences where the worst part was just sitting still long enough while they applied makeup, it involves a lot of snapping bones and blood from the mouth.
- The Power of Love: Lawrence's feelings for Gwen bring out what's left of his humanity, but only right before Gwen "sets him free."
- Rage Against the Reflection: Lawrence angrily flips a mirror around when he sees the bite wound he received less than a month prior has healed without leaving a single mark.
- Revised Ending: The original ending, in the rough draft of the screenplay that was leaked online before the movie's release, had Lawrence throw himself off a cliff in order to save Gwen from himself.
- Roof Hopping: Werewolf style!
- Rustproof Blood: Averted: the dried blood we see on Lawrence ranges from rust colored to almost black in some instances.
- Scare Chord: The overwhelming majority of the frights in the film are solely due to this, rather than anything that actually happens on screen.
- Scenery Porn: There's countless gorgeous shots of the English country side coupled with the elaborate sets and props.
- Sequel Hook: Lawrence Talbot bites Inspector Aberline.
- Shout-Out: Even though the remake differs significantly from the original, they did keep a few tidbits from the 1941 version:
- Gwen's family owns an antique shop
- Lawrence's cane is similar to the one in the original, sporting a wolf's head and star.
- Sir John beating the crap out of Lawrence with said cane but not in self defense, oh, far from it.
- The telescope.
- Also a possible Shout-Out combined with a meta-example of a Stealth Pun: Lawrence, who has lived in the United States since he was a child, and who has recently contracted lycanthropy, is sent to an asylum in London. Making him, naturally, An American Werewolf in London.
- The gypsy girl Lawrence saves is named Maria, which might possibly be a subtle nod to Maria Ouspenskaya, who played Maleva in the original.
- Del Toro's Talbot bears a striking resemblance to Oliver Reed's Leon from the Hammer Horror The Curse of the Werewolf. And you don't get more Spanish with a name like Benicio del Toro. The idea that love might inhibit the transformation is also from Curse.
- Might be a subtle shout out to Werewolf of London. Not just for the fact Lawrence terrorized London for part of the film, but mainly for the ending scenes. Lawrence stays alive long enough to thank Gwen for shooting him and reassures her that it was the right thing to do, much like Dr. Glendon reassures his wife and friends in a similar nature.
- The fact that Sir John received the curse from the bite of a feral child is an even subtler one. In the earliest treatment of the original movie, the titular Wolf Man would have been an orphan raised by wolves. This upbringing would have been the source of his lycanthropy. He received the bite in Tibet, just like Dr. Glendon.
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Quite a few from Hamlet, considering Lawrence is an actor in this version whose most recent play was Hamlet and the references and parallels to the play are played pretty creepily in the film. And Hamlet was famously played by Sir Lawrence Olivier.
- Silver Bullet: What kind of remake would it be if it didn't have at least one silver bullet? And unlike the original, the silver bullet is actually fired into a werewolf's body!
- Stop Trick: The transformation sequences were shot as a series of these.
- Travelling at the Speed of Plot: In preparation for the climax, Lawrence, Gwen, and Inspector Aberline all travel from London to the village, leaving at roughly the same time. Lawrence is on foot and seems to be keeping away from the roads. Gwen is on horseback. Aberline is in a horse-drawn carriage with several other policemen. They all arrive on the same day.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Maleva tells Gwen that there might be a way to lift the curse, albeit very risky one... but we don't get to hear it. Cruelly subverted: looks like it's working, but ultimately the plan fails due to hunters arriving.
- Victorian Britain: Setting for the majority of the film, until we eventually venture to...
- Victorian London: The setting for part of the second and third act.
- Weird Moon: Averted: The time between each transformation is roughly 28 days apart.