Wolf (1994) Blu-ray Review

On sale 20th November from Indicator. Directed by Mike Nichols.

A senior editor about to get the boot, Nicholson’s character becomes a new man after being bitten by a wolf. He takes on challenges at work, lives a more robust life and attracts a new love. But will his new-found energy consume him?

Wolf should actually be named Jack, as it’s star Jack Nicholson carries the entire feature with a strong performance.

From the very opening scene right through to the end titles, Nicholson is captivating as the editor of a magazine that slowly turns into a werewolf. Whether it be the first half of Wolf trying to be a more sophisticated version of a werewolf flick or the second half that eventually gives in and embrace the genre cliches, Nicholson is the biggest draw and deservedly so.

He is joined by a solid supporting cast. Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Christopher Plummer, David Hyde Pierce and even Prunella Scales make up an impressive ensemble. While they all give good performances it is apparent with the script that they are merely there for Nicholson to bounce off. Pfeiffer as Laura is the only role that has a bit more meat to it (no pun intended).

While there’s a lot of talent on camera, behind the lens Wolf had plenty of note too. The director was Mike Nichols, a man that was responsible for classics such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Graduate (1967). His work here is not of the standard of those films but is still rewarding. Ennio Morricone provides an excellent score which lifts the standard of the movie as a result. The legendary Rick Baker provided the special effects.

Although Wolf tries to be a high brow flick, there are some moments that not even smart scripting and clever directing can disguise as anything other than ‘yet another werewolf flick’. The scenes of Nicholson staring wide eyed into the camera so his yellow contact lenses can be seen are something practically every movie in the subgenre use as well. There are also the moments when he starts running around, getting ready to attack as he snarls which bring to mind Oliver Reed in Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Wolf has been somewhat overlooked in the near 25 years since it’s initial release in summer 1994. The movie came at a time when Hollywood was trying to revive old stables of cinema and trying to lure viewers in by claiming what they were seeing was a more intelligent (Wolf) or ‘true’ adaption of classic horror: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) fall into this category.

Pick of the Extras.
The Making of Wolf (55 mins) – Featuring some of the key crew members, this is a worthy special feature. The strange true story that lead to Wolf is talked about, efforts to make Nicholson’s character likeable, various rewrites of the script and more.

The release also comes with vintage interviews with the cast and crew as well as a booklet containing essays on Wolf.

Order here.