Bewildering Stories

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review: Brotherhood of the Wolf

by Eric S. Brown

The Brotherhood of the Wolf is not your typical horror film yet it is destined to become part of the B-movie hall of fame along with such classics as the Evil Dead, Phantasm, and They came from Within (a.k.a. Shivers). It is a French film and perhaps one of the oddest to ever hit American shores. To simply label it a horror film though, would be a crime. Brotherhood has strong elements of horror but also has intense action oriental style, a fairly cool and new plot idea, and best of all suspense.

The movie takes place back in the days when America was still thought of as “the new world” and is set in a remote province in France where a demonic creature has been having the locals for lunch for some time and the beast has became not only a local legend but the talk of the royal courts. All attempts to stop the beast have failed by both the local residents and the French army alike. As the movie opens, much like in the epic poem Beowulf, a hero (actually a pair of heroes) come to the province to solve the mystery of the beast and put an end to its crimes once and for all. One of the heroes is a well traveled scholar in service of the king and an expert in such things, the other is a Mohawk Indian bad ass from the Americas who knows enough martial arts to turn the film into Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon reborn. Don’t ask me how a native American can make Bruce Lee look bad but the film somehow manages to make it seem believable. This pair of unlikely heroes set about their work and soon discover that the beast which everyone fully believes is some sort of lycanthrope is nothing of the sort and is whole different kind of monster that walks upon two legs.

This is a movie that will not only keep one guessing but will make you jump in your seat while your mind churns on the solving of a mystery so cool and original in its answer many won’t have a clue until the secret is shown on the screen for all to see. The film will dazzle you with its elaborate sets and lush, dark atmosphere but don’t be fooled, it is a B movie. There are enough cheesy scenes to prove it and leave you grinning at the foolishness of it all. All in all, though Brotherhood is a superbly stunning and enjoyable film. Due to the type of movie it is though and certain religious twists in the plot, I would recommend renting it before buying it. Brotherhood is an odd and original film that the world sees to few of its like these days so at least give it a shot.

Copyright © 2003 by Eric S. Brown