The Wolfman

Rated 2.0

Universal attempts to jumpstart another franchise from its early 20th-century monster stable, but is handicapped by 21st-century ADD writing and bad pop psychology. It’s a pretty basic story: a 19th-century prodigal son (Benicio Del Toro) returns home to the English familial estate after his brother’s gruesome death, eventually gets bitten by a werewolf and starts loping around the moors ripping villagers’ lungs out. Blood-spattered Jane Austin posturing ensues. Unfortunately, here the basic story is spread out to make things complicated for no other reason than to make things complicated, but without the narrative chops to make the complications add up reasonably. At times, it seems like the money shots for the trailer were written first, with the rest of the script thrown in as an afterthought. The prosthetic effects and bloody mayhem is solid, though. Credit master monster-maker Rick Baker there. But not solid enough to sit through the movie to experience, although there’s an unintentional camp aspect to the mayhem, at odds with the retro tone of the rest of the movie. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated R