I remember seeing this film years ago on VHS and being a little disappointed. Upon seeing it again this week I realize perhaps it was an age thing as I had anticipated seeing something along the lines of The Howling and American Werewolf in London way back then.
This time I realized that although the beginning and the end of the film set in modern day don’t really add much to it, it’s the fairy tale dreamland that we visit for almost the entire running length of the film that is so well visualized by director Neil Jordan. It plays like a Tim Burton film without going quite as far as Burton has been taking his fairy tales of late. Angela Lansbury turns up here as our Grandma who loves to tell stories of wolves and men who are furry on the inside. “Watch out for men whose eyebrows meet,” she loves to tell her granddaughter played by Sarah Patterson. Plenty of vignettes here of werewolf tales including one with a creepy Stephen Rea who has been a regular member of director Jordan’s stock company having appeared in Interview With a Vampire and The Crying Game.
Ever dependable David Warner appears here as Patterson’s father who is always trying to keep his daughter from straying off the path while traveling through the forest to Grandma’s and a rather creepy cameo from Terence Stamp here as well. As one might expect the film culminates with Jordan’s take on the Little Red Riding Hood legend rounding out our 90 minutes of wolf tails quite nicely.
If there is a drawback to the film it’s in making the mistake I did seeing it years ago and quickly realizing that the make up effects are no where near as scary or realistic as the other 2 films of the day, Howling and American Werewolf. Focus on the other aspects of the film and the world of make believe that Jordan has taken us to and you’ll find the film much more enjoyable that way,