Wolves hits this weird middle ground between films like Twilight and The Wolfman. It’s almost certainly influenced by the Twilight series, but it’s also substantially more violent, so it doesn’t really target that demographic. It’s a horror, but also a supernatural coming-of-age story. It’s a balance that doesn’t quite work, and the film almost certainly would have been better if it had gone one way or the other. Ginger Snaps is a perfect example of how a coming-of-age story with a supernatural theme (particularly relatable in this case) can be very gritty while still having a strong story.
By painting itself into a corner between these two opposing ideas, Wolves somewhat limits itself. By trying to seek balance, it’s unlikely to appeal to the demographics of any of its influences. To some there will be too much horror, to others not enough. It doesn’t help that Wolves doesn’t really do anything that any of the aforementioned films haven’t done before. It’s very predictable and derivative. It would have been interesting to see Wolves go a far darker, more bestial route, but it struggles to cast off the Teen Wolf-vibe. It tries to be serious and dark, but it’s not very believable.
There was potential in Wolves to be better than it was. The few interesting characters struggle for screen time with an uninteresting teen wolf lead. Till plays his part well, but his part is just a hairy Edward Cullen. He plays his scenes as a werewolf with enthusiasm, which sort of makes up for how boring he is as a human.
Wolves is not ground-breaking, and if it sought to ‘improve’ on Twilight in any way then it should have tried harder. It’s not a bad watch by any means, but it’s not particularly good either. It’s probably worth watching just for Jason Momoa, because let’s face it, he’s awesome.
Wolves is available now on UK DVD.
By Ross Wildish - 27th March 2015
The last truly brilliant werewolf film was Dog Soldiers - way back in 2002. This plucky British black comedy from Neil Marshall set the standard for modern werewolf films - one that has been hard to meet. Wolves seeks to bring werewolves back in a big and savage way.
High schooler Cayden Richard’s (Lucas Till) life goes downhill when he discovers he is a werewolf. Forced to leave his old life behind, the boy hits the road in search of answers, a journey that leads him to the mysterious town of Lupine Ridge. Cayden soon finds he is not alone in his curse and faces the wrath of Connor Slaughter (Jason Momoa) and his pack, who don’t take kindly to outsiders.
The addition of Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian) certainly piqued my interests, as he tends to play gritty, savage characters pretty well. Indeed, Momoa played his part with all the charisma he showed as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones; certainly a fine choice for an alpha werewolf.