The Wolfman, a remake of the 1941 classic, is an old-fashioned horror film. It's cheesy, crude and resolutely B-movie. Director Joe Johnston scares you in the easiest way possible - lots of sudden moves, a blaring soundtrack and enough body parts to stock up a meat shop. At one point, I thought intestines, which feature prominently, might be given a star billing.
But what makes Wolfman fun is its A-list actors - Benicio del Toro plays the lupine Lawrence Talbot, Emily Blunt is his love interest Gwen and Anthony Hopkins is his strangely remote father. These three, who have several Oscar nominations and awards between them, give the comic-book material some heft but even so, I had to suppress a giggle when the big climactic battle between two werewolves began. It was more funny than frightening.
The Wolfman is set in Victorian England so we have the typical Gothic locales: dark moors heavy with fog; a decrepit manor with long dark corridors that hide terrible family secrets; the cobbled streets of London and lots of horses. Talbot, who has been estranged from his family, arrives home after many years, because his brother is reported missing. It turns out the brother is dead, murdered in such a horrifically ugly way that it could only be a wild beast or a lunatic or perhaps both. Unfortunately when Talbot sets out to unravel the mystery, he gets bit and then, as it is ordained, he becomes the beast himself. This transformation from man to blood-curling beast is the film's money-shot - there is a fun sequence in which Talbot is in a room filled with doctors who are treating him with electric shocks and ice-water baths, for his lycanthropic delusions. He becomes a wolf and shreds them to pieces.
The Wolfman isn't high on logic but it has enough moments of suspense and low-brow thrills to make it reasonably diverting. And like Valentine's Day, it also has an Indian touch. The werewolf curse originates here and we have a bug-eyed Sikh servant who ominously warns Talbot: sometimes monsters come looking for you.
If rom-coms are your idea of horror, then The Wolfman might be a perfect Valentine's day choice. Check it out.