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Wolf (1994)

  • Rate: 6.1/10 total 35,146 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Horror | Romance | Thriller
  • Release Date: 17 June 1994 (USA)
  • Runtime: 125 min
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Wolf (1994)

Wolf 1994tt0111742.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Wolf (1994)
  • Rate: 6.1/10 total 35,146 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Horror | Romance | Thriller
  • Release Date: 17 June 1994 (USA)
  • Runtime: 125 min
  • Filming Location: Bradbury Building – 304 S. Broadway, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Budget: $70,000,000 (estimated)
  • Gross: £3,709,293 (UK) (9 September 1994)
  • Director: Mike Nichols
  • Stars: Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader | See full cast and crew »
  • Original Music By: Ennio Morricone   
  • Sound Mix: SDDS (8 channels) | Dolby SR | Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Wolf | Werewolf | Amulet | Publisher | Publishing House

Writing Credits By:

  • Jim Harrison (written by) and
  • Wesley Strick (written by)

Known Trivia

  • The movie’s release was delayed for 6 to 8 months to re-shoot the entire third act. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • This was the second movie that Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer made together after The Witches of Eastwick and their first since Jack played the Joker in Batman and Michelle played Catwoman in Batman Returns. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Director Mike Nichols had originally wanted lead actress Michelle Pfeiffer to wear a red-hooded sweatshirt for the film’s final act. She refused as she thought it would harm the film’s credibility. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Mia Farrow was slated to play Charlotte Randall. Mike Nichols had to fight to let Farrow have the part, due to the film company’s hesitancy over her being too controversial at the time (the then current Mia Farrow/Woody Allen trial). She had to take a salary cut but in the long run she had to bow out anyway due to schedule conflicts. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |
  • Sharon Stone turned down the female lead. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |
  • Although the film is about a werewolf, that particular word is never mentioned. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |
  • Jack Nicholson had been trying to get this film made with his friend, writer Jim Harrison, for 12 years. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |
  • In Christopher Plummer’s new memoir, he revealed that while filming a scene, he got so into character that he actually slapped Michelle Pfeiffer across the face instead of faking it. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |
  • When Will meets with Alden and his lawyer, in the bookshelves you can see six Robert Jordan books: One copy of ‘The Eye of the World’, one copy of ‘The Great Hunt’, two copies of ‘The Dragon Reborn’, and two copies of ‘The Shadow Rising’. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |
  • John Williams was originally attached to compose the music for this film. Soon left the project after the film was delayed and needed some time off after winning the Oscar for Schindler’s List, as he’d been working on Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and overseeing the Boston Pops Orchestra in Boston. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |

Goofs: Factual errors: In the opening sequence, when Will is driving his Volvo, the sun is setting and the full moon is rising in the same part of the sky. The moon should be black, or be rising on the opposite side of the sun.

Plot: Publisher Will Randall becomes a werewolf and has to fight to keep his job. Full summary »  »

Story: Worn down and out of luck, aging publisher Will Randall is at the end of his rope when a younger co-worker snatches both his job and wife out from under his nose. But after being bit by a wolf, Will suddenly finds himself energized, more competitive than ever, and possessed with amazingly heightened senses. Meanwhile, the beautiful daughter of his shrewd boss begins to fall for him – without realizing that the man she’s begun to love is gradually turning into the creature by which he was bit. Written byMark Neuenschwander, <retro_critic@swiftboard.com>

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Robert Greenhut known as executive producer
  • Jim Harrison known as associate producer
  • Michele Imperato known as associate producer
  • Neil A. Machlis known as executive producer (as Neil Machlis)
  • Douglas Wick known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Jack Nicholson known as Will Randall
  • Michelle Pfeiffer known as Laura Alden
  • James Spader known as Stewart Swinton
  • Kate Nelligan known as Charlotte Randall
  • Richard Jenkins known as Detective Bridger
  • Christopher Plummer known as Raymond Alden
  • Eileen Atkins known as Mary
  • David Hyde Pierce known as Roy
  • Om Puri known as Dr. Vijay Alezais
  • Ron Rifkin known as Doctor
  • Prunella Scales known as Maude
  • Brian Markinson known as Detective Wade
  • Peter Gerety known as George
  • Bradford English known as Keyes
  • Stewart J. Zully known as Gary
  • Thomas F. Duffy known as Tom
  • Tom Oppenheim known as Butler
  • Shirin Devrim known as Party Guest
  • Allison Janney known as Party Guest
  • Kirby Mitchell known as Party Guest
  • Madhur Jaffrey known as Party Guest
  • William Hill known as Party Guest
  • Cynthia O'Neal known as Party Guest
  • Timothy Thomas known as Party Guest
  • Lisa Emery known as Party Guest
  • Leigh Carlson known as Party Guest
  • Alice Liu known as Party Guest
  • Max Weitzenhoffer known as Party Guest
  • Irene Cagen known as Office Worker (as Irene Forrest)
  • Jennifer Nicholson known as Office Worker
  • Jack Nisbet known as Office Worker
  • Dale Kasman known as Office Worker
  • Jeffrey Allen O'Den known as Office Worker
  • Jose Soto known as Gang Member
  • Van Bailey known as Gang Member
  • Dwayne McClary known as Gang Member
  • Elizabeth Massie known as Alden's Secretary
  • Joanna Sanchez known as Receptionist
  • Eva Rodriguez known as Maid
  • Lia Chang known as Desk Clerk
  • Starletta DuPois known as Victim's Mother
  • Oz Perkins known as Cop (as Osgood Perkins)
  • David Schwimmer known as Cop
  • Christopher Birt known as Cop
  • Kaity Tong known as TV Newscaster
  • Dorinda Katz known as Sexy Shopper (uncredited)
  • Elaine May known as Operator (voice) (uncredited)
  • Rawleigh Moreland known as Party Guest / Publisher (uncredited)
  • Michael Raynor known as (uncredited)

..

 

Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Stephen Abrums known as makeup artist: Mr. Nicholson
  • Rick Baker known as special makeup effects
  • Joe Colwell known as mold maker
  • Alan D'Angerio known as hair designer
  • Donna Drexler known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • Steve Frakes known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • Steven Frank known as hair stylist
  • Romaine Greene known as hair stylist: New York
  • Steven James known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios (as Steve James)
  • Carol Koch known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios (as Carol Kramer Koch)
  • Robert Laden known as makeup artist: New York
  • Jim Leonard known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • James McLoughlin known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • Greg Nelson known as special makeup application
  • Peter Owen known as wig maker
  • Francesca Paris known as hair stylist: New York
  • Michele Paris known as body makeup artist (as Michele Paris-Catanzarite)
  • Matt Rose known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • Andy Schoneberg known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • Russell Seifert known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • Aaron Sims known as special makeup effects crew: Cinovation Studios
  • Ronnie Specter known as makeup artist: Ms. Pfeiffer
  • Marlene D. Williams known as hair stylist

Art Department:

  • Susan Bode known as set decorator: New York
  • Frank L. Brown known as assistant property master
  • John Dexter known as assistant art director (as John E. Dexter)
  • Frank Didio known as head carpenter
  • Michael Diersing known as construction coordinator
  • Scott C. Garrett known as draper
  • Scott C. Garrett known as lead man
  • Scott C. Garrett known as set dresser
  • Vincent Guarriello known as key construction grip
  • Scott E. Handt known as construction foreman
  • Sean Haworth known as set designer
  • Chris Herrington known as paint foreman
  • Gary Isbell known as set dresser
  • Michael Anthony Jackson known as storyboard artist
  • Jack Johnson known as illustrator
  • Phillis Lehmer known as art department coordinator
  • David Lowery known as storyboard artist
  • C.J. Maguire known as property master
  • Vinny Mazzarella known as assistant property master
  • James Mazzola known as property master: New York
  • Tony Miller known as set plasterer
  • Lee Orlikoff known as leadman
  • Ron Petagna known as construction coordinator
  • Bruce Richter known as carpenter
  • James Sorice known as chargeman scenic artist: New York
  • Jacques Valin known as set designer
  • Tom Warren known as art director: New York
  • Dave Weinman known as leadman: New York (as David Weinman)
  • Christian Wintter known as assistant art director: reshoots
  • Clyde Zimmerman known as paint supervisor
  • Kent Jones known as painter (uncredited)
  • Wing Lee known as assistant art director: New York (uncredited)
  • Robert Misetich known as set paint foreman (uncredited)

..

 

Company

Production Companies:

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation (presents) (as Columbia Pictures)

Other Companies:

  • Animal Actors  animals provided by
  • C-5  post-production facilities
  • CRM Group Inc.  Wescam aerial
  • Cinesite  film scanning
  • Columbia Records  soundtrack
  • Direct Tools & Fasteners  expendables
  • Donah Bassett and Associates  negative cutting (as Donah Bassett & Associates)
  • Effects House, The  opticals
  • Good Sam Club  special thanks to
  • Hit Factory, The  scoring studio
  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)  acknowledgment (as I.A.T.S.E.®)
  • Movie Movers  star trailers
  • Movie Movers  transportation
  • Nassau County Office of Cinema and TV Promotion  special thanks to (as Nassau County, New York, Office of Cinema/Television Production)
  • New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Theater & Broadcasting, The  special thanks to (as City of New York Mayor's Office of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting)
  • New York Film Commission, The  special thanks to (as New York State Film Commission)
  • Old Westbury Gardens  special thanks to
  • Pacific Title  titles by (as Pacific Title And Design)
  • Panavision  cameras and lenses (as Panavision®)
  • Performing Animal Troupe  animals provided by
  • R/Greenberg Associates  titles
  • Sony Classical  soundtrack
  • Sound One Corporation  post-production facilities
  • TL Enterprises  special thanks to
  • Technicolor  color by (as Technicolor®)
  • Todd-AO Studios (East)  post production facilities
  • Tom Doherty Associates  special thanks to
  • Tor Books  special thanks to

Distributors:

  • Columbia Pictures (1994) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Columbia TriStar Film Distributors (1994) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Columbia TriStar Film (1994) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Columbia TriStar Films (1994) (France) (theatrical)
  • Columbia TriStar Films (1994) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Columbia TriStar Films de Argentina (1994) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Columbia TriStar Films de España (1994) (Spain) (theatrical)
  • Finnkino (1994) (Finland) (theatrical)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment (1998) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment (1998) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment (2001) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video (1995) (UK) (video) (laserdisc)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video (1997) (Netherlands) (VHS)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video (1995) (USA) (video) (laserdisc)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video (1997) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video (1997) (USA) (DVD)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video (1997) (USA) (VHS)
  • Egmont Entertainment (1998) (Finland) (DVD)
  • Fox Network (1997) (USA) (TV) (broadcast premiere)
  • LK-TEL (199?) (Argentina) (VHS)
  • Mainostelevisio (MTV3) (2001) (Finland) (TV)
  • Nelonen (2003) (2004) (2009) (Finland) (TV)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2009) (Germany) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • V8 (2002) (Netherlands) (TV)
  • Warner Home Video (1995) (Finland) (VHS)
  • Yleisradio (YLE) (1998) (Finland) (TV)

..

 

Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) (special visual effects)
  • Cinovation Studios (special makeup effects) (as Cinovation)
  • Hansard (process projection by) (as Hansard®)
  • Amalgamated Dynamics (animatronic wolf effects) (uncredited)
  • Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) (special visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Lisa Adamson known as animator: SPI
  • Alia Agha known as visual effects coordinator: ILM (as Alia Almeida Agha)
  • Ryan Berg known as visual effects coordinator: SPI
  • Patricia Blau known as executive in charge of production: ILM
  • Eric Brevig known as visual effects supervisor: ILM
  • Dan Candela known as film recorder operator: SPI
  • Terry Chostner known as VistaVision camera operator: ILM
  • Heather Davis Baker known as animator: SPI (as Heather Davis)
  • Tim Douglas known as animator: SPI
  • David Drzewiecki known as visual effects director of photography: SPI
  • John V. Fante known as visual effects director of photography: SPI (as John Fante)
  • Scott Farrar known as visual effects supervisor: ILM
  • Lisa Foster known as digital artist
  • John Gazdik known as VistaVision camera assistant: ILM
  • Michael Gleason known as visual effects editor
  • Mark Holmes known as digital compositor: ILM
  • Scott Kilburn known as lead animator: SPI
  • Kelvin Lee known as animator: SPI
  • Bill Mather known as digital matte artist: ILM
  • Roni McKinley known as visual effects producer: ILM
  • George Merkert known as visual effects producer: SPI
  • Blake Miller known as visual effects production assistant: SPI
  • John Nelson known as visual effects supervisor: SPI
  • Joshua Pines known as scanning supervisor: ILM
  • Jamie Rama known as storyboard artist: SPI
  • Rebecca Ramsey known as title producer: RGA/LA
  • Gayle Reznik known as digital production manager: SPI
  • Kenneth Smith known as optical supervisor: ILM
  • David Tanaka known as visual effects assistant editor: ILM
  • Jon Townley known as matte painter: SPI
  • Jon Townley known as visual effects designer: SPI
  • Alberto Velez known as system engineer: SPI
  • Mike Wassel known as matte painter: SPI
  • Dennis Webb known as film recorder operator: SPI
  • Deborah Wiltman known as technical assistant: SPI
  • Ronn Brown known as digital matte assistant (uncredited)
  • Martin Foster known as previs artist (uncredited)

MPAA: Rated R for language and werewolf attacks

..

 
 

Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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Posted on October 15, 2013 by in Movies | Tags: , .

10 Comments

  1. ccthemovieman-1 from United States
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    Here's a werewolf movie done with some style and some class. This maybe the only werewolf-business world combination. It features effectivevillains played by James Spader and Christopher Plummer. I've alwaysfound 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 thismovie, acting very subdued throughout.

    There isn't as much action as you see in most modern-day horror moviesbut 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 toogle Michelle Pfeiffer.

    Even though the profanity is pretty low for a '90s film, when it'sthere it's needless. They could could have done this movie, believe itor not, without any and it still would have been good. I'm notcomplaining. I still recommend this, but not for people who are lookingfor an action–packed vampire film.

  2. dr_foreman from Brooklyn, NY
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

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

    Nicholson gives one of his best performances of recent years here, playingagainst 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 partthan you’d expect for a woman in a horror film (horror is very much a boy’sgenre, I’m afraid).

    I’m going to get snooty here and suggest that most people just don’tunderstand "Wolf," probably because its ideal audience is quite small. Fansof 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 actionand gore. But if you like thoughtful horror that has more brains thanblood, you’re part of the small group of people who’ll get something out ofthis.

  3. jimboduck from Massachusetts
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    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 actingis subdued yet electrically charged. To top things off, the Hitchcockstyle score by Ennio Morricone draws you in from the opening creditsstraight to the end. WOLF is such a unique installment to the werewolftradition that it easily bursts through the bars of any category youplace it in.

    Mike Nichols boasts a career that is a study in itself. Afterartistically 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 thechallenge of weaving a wide range of adult themes into one coherentwerewolf movie. Stylistically, the shots and cinematography featured inthe movie hearken back to an adventurous 70's spirit that has beenabandoned in modern film. The combination of quick and slow zooms,along with expansive cuts of open spaces make the 125 minute story bothrhythmic 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, themovie isn't really a horror movie. It focuses mostly on the caninetricks of corporate power, double-crossing, and primordial carnalknowledge. In this respect, James Spader upstages Jack Nicholson andalmost steals the show.

    Still, there's all the good stuff that comes with werewolf movies. Thecurse is a contagion transmitted by a bite. Who's the monster, and whatmakes the monster fearsome? What happens when Jack starts to turn? Howfar can Mike Nichols upset our comfort level? For all those horror fansout there, the make-up team did a superb job, no doubt influenced bythe disjointed transformations of the original black and white wolf-manclassic.

    As a telltale sign of the film's sophistication, the werewolf theme isdramatically eclipsed by the true storyline – Nicholson's over-the-hillstruggles in the publishing business. In the final examination, withcorporate culture in mind, WOLF tends to resemble Wall Street or AsGood as It Gets more than it does the Howling or American Werewolf inLondon. Nichols does a masterful job seamlessly weaving canine trickeryinto the workplace. Jack's heightened sense of smell detects hiscoworker's early morning Tequila. His pointed ears pick up juicy officegossip. In addition to these scenes, WOLF introduces an innovativecorporate idea – urination and marking of territory, something thatevery sensible dog does when he feels like it!

    The only detractor from WOLF is the quick and dirty relationshipbetween Pfiffer and Nicholson. Even though the film is billed as awerewolf movie, this relationship somewhat stands as a centerpiece. Tobe sure, the sparse exchanges between the two stars feature wittydialog with plenty of chemistry. But despite this potential, therelationship somehow rings hollow and gets trampled beneath the otherstory lines that are taking place.

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

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

    JY

    Jimboduck-dot-com

  4. Anders Åslund (anders.aslund@xpress.se) from Karlstad, Sweden
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    I like this film. It is different as a horror movie, because it really isn’ta horror movie – and yet here we have a man turning into a wolf, he startskilling people at night, and we have the rabid horror music stalking ourears when the wolf is on the prowl.

    I like the characters, I like the slow pace and the calm moments and Iespecially like Jack Nicholson when Randall’s senses start to come alive. Heis extremely well cast for this film, I don’t think many others wouldactually convey the animal inside like he does. Pfieffer’s character is,although formulaic, a relief among all the hard-assed men of this film. Theending 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 actlike the animal we all really think he is but don’t dare to findout.

  5. Richard Brunton (imdb-update@brunton.org.uk) from Edinburgh, Scotland
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

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

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

    The opening sequence grabs you straight away, stock shocks, but they workfantastically, from then on I found myself impressed on just about everyfollowing scene.

    Nicholson is very good at underplaying the beginning of his transformationas he starts to discover his newly heightened senses, but he comes into hisown when his powers bring him new found confidence and selfassurance.

    Some of the wolf effects are a little cheesy, and the appearance of DavidSchwimmer playing a cop caused me to flash into Friends mode – he even has afriends-like line, could he _be_ anymore Ross like? Aside from these littleniggles the film has an excellent love story with fantastic interactionbetween Nicholson and Pfieffer with some wry dialog. It’s got great lightingand very good cinematography throw in a superb Morricone soundtrack and acool ending and you’ve got a great film.

  6. (bsmith5552@rogers.com) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    "Wolf" is not your average blood and guts horror flick. Rather it is a highbudget drama with horror overtones with a top notch cast skillfully directedby Mike Nichols.

    Jack Nicholson stars as Will Randall a meek book editor whose life suddenlyis thrown into turmoil when he is bitten by a wolf while driving home from abusiness meeting. Suddenly he begins to feel younger and more energetic andto have keener senses of smell, sight and hearing. But to his horror, hebegins to experience memory black outs during which several tragic eventsoccur. He gradually comes to realize that he is taking on thecharacteristics of a wolf.

    At the office, Randall has just been fired from his job by owner RaymondAlden (Christopher Plummer) and his place taken by the arrogant brown nosingStewart Swinton (James Spader). Randall also learns that Swinton has beenhaving an affair with his wife (Kate Nelligan). At that time he meetsAlden’s beautiful but self-centered daughter Laura (Michelle Pfeiffer) andnaturally they become involved (Who wouldn’t howl at the moon after spendingthe night with Michelle Pfeiffer?).

    When Randall’s wife is murdered, he begins to fear the worst so he turns toLaura for help in helping him to subdue his urges. But is he guilty murder?We have to wait to find out what’s really going on until the last part ofthe film.

    The performances by all cast members are top notch. Nicholson as usualstands out as the tragic, doomed Randall. Pfeiffer (who is a much betteractress than she is given credit for) is excellent as Laura. Plummer issuitably oily and manipulative as Alden and Spader is really good as theover ambitious Swinton. Look for David Hyde Pierce in a small role asRandall’s assistant and look real close for David Schwimmer as one of thecops who tries to arrest Randall at the zoo.

    An off beat but different sort of horror film.

  7. Barry Iverson (bearerik@techline.com) from Washington, USA
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    This movie was a welcome change from the typical werewolf flick. First off,we have Jack. Jack rules. Also, we have a good story that relates to adultlife. This movie seems to pay tribute to classic werewolf films such as"The Wolf Man" with its basic formula of: Normal man, man bitten, manrealizes something wrong, man discovers cool abilities, man uses abilities,man’s abilities become out of control, man seeks help, man gets mysticalamulet, man seeks resolution. It works very well, and this movie has greatacting in it. Consider it a corporate werewolf flick, a more mature look atthe beast in all of us.

  8. pyrocitor from Ontario, Canada
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    Ever since the 1940s, filmmakers attempting to make a new monster film,in the vein of the classics Dracula or The Wolf Man are often saddledwith the contempt or disbelief provoked in response by contemporaryaudiences, leaving the end result either comedic or a camp attempt at athriller incapable of being taken seriously or enjoyed by anyone otherthan caffeine riddled thirteen year olds. After numerous of saidattempts, it was refreshing, to say the least, to experience a filmwhich would normally fall under the aforementioned category, but whichtook its subject matter in a straightforward and serious fashion,helmed by a quality filmmaker and with a strong enough cast to properlysell some of the less credible aspects of the production. The resultwas Wolf, a modern werewolf film not intended as a joke or cinematicmoney grabber, but instead an intelligent look at the themes whichthrilled 1940s audiences in a contemporary context.

    Director Mike Nichols should be commended for instilling his subjectmatter with enough dramatic intensity to appeal to an adultdemographic, without forgetting the primary intent of such a film – tothrill and chill its audiences in turn. But rather than milking theaudience's emotions with a series of oh so trite horror clichés,Nichols is willing to forgo outright shock value screams for acontinual chilling sensation – a more subtle and ultimately more eerietouch many modern hackneyed attempts at horror could learn volumesfrom. Adding to Wolf's credibility is some creative and intriguingcamera work, although the continued use of slow motion during dramaticpoints does begin to appear hokey after a while, despite workingbrilliantly at other points.

    The quality of the film is also strongly aided by a strong script,brilliantly paced between frights and character development; also ararity considering the genre, and with just enough fleeting moments ofperfectly placed comedic relief. The ever reliable Ennio Morriconecontributes a wonderful score, a sublime tribute to the horror films ofold without ever seeming clichéd. The filmmakers should also becommended enormously for resisting the temptation to overload thewerewolf character with special effects, and take the classic makeuproute instead. In an industry inundated with computer altered specialeffects, there is something very laudable about seeing an actual actorcovered in prosthetic hair giving an actual performance, rather than aCGI created monstrosity. Whether intended as a tribute to the originalWolf Man (the facial hair designs are unmistakably familiar to LonChaney Jr.'s infamous antihero) or simply taking inspiration from it,the makeup works enormously well, and gives a welcome dose of nostalgiain a modern incarnation of the genre.

    The casting of Jack Nicholson as a modern day werewolf may haveimmediately come across as a very mixed blessing, inciting excitementthat such an iconic actor was taking a shot at a part which seemedtailor made for him, and fear that Nicholson might simply coast by onthe premise, and indulge in his tendency to drift over the top to thepoint of pantomime, effectively ruining the intent of the film.Thankfully, Nicholson also had the credulity to take his subject matterseriously, and emerge with a perfectly tuned performance. Nicholsonchannels his legendary charisma into an entirely credible character,riddled with pathos and dark menace, easily dispelling fears that hisfacial prosthetics might come across as laughable, and emerging with asurprisingly powerful and very serious performance. Michelle Pfeiffergives a tremendously charismatic and entirely believable performance asNicholson's surprisingly well written love interest – rather than beingreduced to screaming and floundering around, Pfeiffer injects hercharacter with real human emotions, taking what could have been aroutine romantic lead and nearly stealing the film in one of the mostimpressive performances in her career. James Spader makes a deliciouslyslimy antagonist, and classy support is provided from Kate Nelligan,Richard Jenkins and Christopher Plummer.

    What might have degraded into cheap watered down horror trashculminated as an intelligent, mature and unapologetic modern monsterthriller, made all the stronger by its firm, capable direction,intelligent and wonderfully paced script, with excellent performancesfrom Nicholson and Pfeiffer. Wolf makes a wonderful modern take on theWolf Man classic right down to the facial prosthetics, and is easilyworth seeing for any fans of the genre in the mood for a horror filmwhich refuses to patronise its audience – a very refreshing change.

    -8/10

  9. Noel Bailey (uds3@hotmail.com) from Longmont: Colorado US
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    Now HERE is a film to sort out the average from the anything-but-averageviewer. The reviews I have read sadden me, as they suggest a respectiveratio of 98 : 2

    If you cannot see the absolute brilliance and talent that went into thisdeceptively clever and involving movie, why declare your obvious limitationsby writing about it? Of course it was never going to be your average run ofthe mill lycanthropic bite-fest. Was that ever likely with Mike Nicholsdirecting and Nicholson starring?

    The film is a dedication to BELIEFS, to unseen beauty, unacknowledged linksand to the predator in all of us. It is a tale of romance and magnificence.Way up there in my own personal top 50 films of all time I could never tireof watching this film and LISTENING..and this word is thekey.

    HEARING becomes an intrinsic part of Nicholson’s transformation after he isbitten by a wolf on his way home one night in upstate New York. He works assenior editor in an upmarket publishing house that is taken over by aconglomerate headed up by Christopher Plummer in one of his superb littleChristopher Plummer characterisations. Nicholson’s Will Randall is offeredthe job no-one wants by Plummer to catalyse his hoped-for resignation. Theessence of the wolf however already in his blood sharpens his instincts andhe takes the fight up to Plummer ultimately forcing a back-down.

    Of so many wonderful scenes presented, it is hard to nominate a favorite butthat where he meets Plummer’s daughter (Michelle Pfeiffer) stands as one ofthe great verbal exchanges ever put down on film. Up there with Pacino andDe Niro in HEAT, Pacino and Keanu Reeves in THE DEVILS ADVOCATE, sparks justfly as the old pro shreds her veneer of impenetrable coldness and getsplenty back, all the time both unconsciously aware of something quiteoutside their experiences, taking hold somewhere in anotherdimension.

    My personal nomination for stand out scene, is the sequence where WillRandall, concerned and confused as to what is happening to him, consultsalternative health doctor Vijay Alezias (so humbly played by Om Puri) whounderstands what afflicts Randall and explains to him the "nature" of thewolf and the strength it will ultimately bequeath upon him. In a scene soabsolutely touching, he proffers his hand to Nicholson and explaining thathe is an old man with limited time left asks "Would you honor me with yourbite?" How ANYONE could watch that and not be moved to an emotionalmelt-down I just don’t know. The utter confusion reigning then in Randall’sexpression when he declines is just acting on another levelaltogether.

    James Spader who is consistently one of the most repulsive of actors (maybethats his talent?) in a litany of warped and twisted roles plays thecorporate climber not just happy to take Randall’s job, but his friend’swife (smallish role for Nelligan) as well. The washroom scene whereNicholson announces simply "Just marking out my territory" was worth seeingalone!

    Many have complained bitterly that the finale descends into a "typicalb-grade werewolf movie." Jeez, they ARE WEREWOLVES for God’s sake what didyou expect Nichols to come up with? a fight to the death with mouse pads? The absolute last scene where Pfeiffer’s eyes morph into thewolfwas an inspirational touch. Easily one of HER best films!

  10. guy-bellinger (guy.bellinger@wanadoo.fr) from Montigny-lès-Metz, France
    15 Oct 2013, 5:20 am

    Mike Nichols is not always an inspired director but in this case HE IS! Quite amazingly but undeniably, he manages with this gem to achieve anearly perfect synthesis of the realistic, satiric and horror genres.

    The theme of lycanthropy , provided by Jim Harrison’s excitingscreenplay, is made all the more interesting since it applies to reallife, to the soulless society surrounding us. We have an expression inFrench "l’homme est un loup pour l’homme" (Men are wolves to other men) which could not be illustrated in a better way than by this sombermovie. Indeed, the werewolf theme (unfortunately ) applies toperfection to our money-minded, cynical,mercantile environment.

    Also very interesting is the fact that lycanthropy is presented fromtwo angles, the first violent and painful ( like in dozens of such likestories ) the second positive and exhilarating ( a much more seldomapproach ). Will Randall not only suffers from the change in his mindand body but he sees his senses becoming keener, his abilities developand his combativeness strengthened. And putting all these new qualitiesto good use,he turns into the dark avenger of the frustrated viewer.

    The dark romantic ending ( the couple becoming wolves ) avoids thetrite happy end and the terror effects are very satisfactory. Iparticularly vibrated at the fight between Nicholson and Spader, in themiddle of which poor Michelle Pfeiffer is ruthlessly brutalized.Theopening sequence ( worried Nicholson driving in a beautiful butunsettling snowy landscape ) is also memorable.

    Nicholson, Pfeiffer, Spader and Plummer are all excellent andcomplement each other to perfection.

    Shame on those who disparage this masterpiece.