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The truth is that was don't get many good werewolf films anymore. "The Howling" was a pure classic, and "Wolf" was the last decent werewolf movie Hollywood has churned out lately, and "Wolf" was made in 1994--that's one hell of a long time. And, being that horror is my favorite genre of film, I was more than happy to learn that a new and supposedly quite frightening horror film was being released, this surprise coming in the form of "Brotherhood of the Wolf", a French horror film with English subtitles and one hell of an interesting plot line.
Based on a true story, the film tells the story of the Beast of Gevaudan. In 1764, the Beast was responsible for the deaths of over 60 women and children, viciously killing them and tearing out their hearts and vitals. Director Christophe Gans suggests, as many others have, that the Beast was actually a werewolf. Samuel Le Bihan is Fronsac, a brilliant naturalist who comes to research the Beast and possibly end it's rampage. Assisted by martial arts expert Mani (played by Mark Dacascos), the two look to unravel the mystery behind the beast. They are aided in their quest by many people, including Marianne (who fancies one of the searchers), and Jean-Francois (Vincent Casell), who has one arm and is able to use a rifle that is braced underneath his arm.
In many ways this film seemed like a better version of "The Ghost and the Darkness". If you remember, "The Ghost and the Darkness" starred Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas as two men tracking down a couple of very dangerous lions. That film could have been much better--it could have been "Brotherhood of the Wolf". Director Christophe Gans has such an eye for detail, and especially an eye for cinematography because this is one of the most beautifully shot films of the year and one of the eeriest looking horror films in a while, the exception being "From Hell". The plot line is extremely interesting and I found myself researching the internet later on to investigate the Beast of Gevaudan even further.
The performances in this film are fine, but the star of the film is the Beast. The Jim Henson Creature Effects Shop designed the Beast and did a fantastic job. A couple of highlights come from Le Bihan as the intellectual Fronsac, and--even though he made a name for himself as a B-movie martial arts fighter--Mark Dacascos as Mani. The ending of this film is completely unexpected and completely extraordinary--one of the best endings to come from any film this year. I am almost certain this film should be nominated for two Oscars: (1) Best Cinematography and (2) Best Make-Up Design, though I doubt it will win either. I fully endorse this film and suggest than anyone looking for a good fright go to see it--you can manage to sit through 146 minutes of subtitles I'm sure--and this keeps your attention a little better than "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". SIDE NOTE: It is also possible that this film could be nominated for Best Foreign Film though, with movies like "Amelie" out there, I doubt it will win. Everyone out there go and see this film so the Academy might possibly pay it a little more well-deserved attention. 7.5/10.
- added 09/15/2007, 07:25 AM
saw this just tonight. the dubbed english
soundtrack made the movie seem budget. alright,
not overly impressed with the film as a whole.
some nice scenes though. 6/10
- added 11/26/2007, 11:43 PM
I watched this in theators and i am so glad to
got the chance to see this. People actually got up
and left when they saw this had subtitles. Its got
indians, gypsies, whores, a warewolf, everything a
growing boy needs.
- added 07/31/2008, 11:20 AM
Despite being a little disappointed with the fact
that this was falsely touted as a werewolf movie,
I fell in love with "Brotherhood" from
the moment I saw it subtitled in theatres. I
actually was ballsy enough to sneer at the people
standing outside who had left because of the lack
of dubbing, "You missed out." The acting
was lovely, the sets were gorgeous, and the
storyline just sucked me right in. Conspiracy
themes are difficult to do without becoming
needlessly complicated, especially when government
and aristocracy start to get involved, but this
movie pulls it off quite nicely and gives us some
truly impressive visuals along the way. This is
one of maybe five foreign films in my collection
and I cherish it. Hey France! Send more monsters!
- added 04/21/2009, 04:36 AM
A bit too slow paced for my liking. It wasn't bad
per se, it was just very long and had too many
stretches where the Beast was little more than a
- added 04/21/2009, 03:21 PM
A Native American Martial Artist?
It's just too
incredibly idiotic to even explain why that
couldn't be possible... no less the many other
foolishly anachronistic chances this half-baked
film took unsuccessfully.
"Beast" itself was a refreshing
surprise... but it degenerated into a minor
subplot later on.
Could have and
SHOULD have been better. A well-shot
Still, in todays glut of
mindless, derivative Horror craptaculars... this
film stands head and shoulders above most.