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Brotherhood of the Wolf DVD Review

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The creature feature: A lambasted genre of movie that critics loathe to the extreme, usually filled with abysmal special effects and completely lacking in plot.

Brotherhood of the Wolf: French film disguised as a creature feature, loved by most critics, filled with abysmal special effects and 2 hours worth of useless character development.

A mysterious creature is slaughtering villagers in a turn of the century French town and two heroes (Mark Dacascos and Samuel Le Bihan) are called in to put an end to it. The monster eludes them for most of the movie as the beast continues a small rampage. A mystery unfolds as the people are lied to and the stars of the film begin to uncover a sinister plot involving the “wolf.”

I’m not sure this thesaurus next to me has enough adjectives for the word “horrible” to help me describe this movie. Coming in at just under two hours and thirty minutes, this movie drags on lifelessly, pulling any entertainment value right down with it. The pitiful creature referred to so many times early in the movie is only shown fleetingly for the first half only to finally be revealed as a ridiculously obvious CG wolf covered in some type of armor. Some Sci-Fi channel original movies have more convincing monsters than this.

A few fight sequences and some nice cinematography breathe some life into this one at times, but these few moments of film don’t make up for the rest of the running time. The characters never seem to stop rambling on about how horrible this beast is, how it kills, or what they plan on doing about it. Of course, in the midst of all this, they find plenty of time to visit a whorehouse multiple times (seriously). Some characters have a blossoming romance, but it’s nothing more than a blatant attempt to add some death to the otherwise lifeless characters. The references to Crouching Tiger on the back of the DVD sleeve are seriously misguided as no more than 10 minutes of film are used to show some fighting. Rest assured no one will be flying across rooftops or sword fighting in trees. All battles stay grounded here. This is a sad, sad excuse for entertainment. (* out of *****)

Brotherhood of the Wolf is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. No pan and scam version is available on the format. The print varies wildly scene to scene, but most of the movie is extremely dark and the disc just doesn’t handle it well at all. The bright orange on black palette (due to extensive use of candlelight which does make sense considering the time period) that is used for most of the film just looks garish. Grain in these scenes is not just distracting, but makes things difficult to see. Daylight sequences are just about perfect, hindered only by a miniscule amount of grain and minor compression artifacts. Sadly, these brightly colored scenes are few and far between and that makes this already bad film even harder to watch. (**)

Thankfully, something about this movie is decent. The Dolby 5.1 surround track used here is simply astounding, besting even the greatest DTS tracks in terms of bass. Both rear channels are used extensively during the few action sequences and the large mobs that tend to gather a lot in this film also fill the sound field. When this track is used at full power, it’s one of the best uses of 5.1 ever put onto a DVD. Note that both the original French and dubbed English language have been included. A quick check reveals the dub makes the movie lose some of its powerful impact from the bass, though the clarity and great use of the rear surrounds remains about the same. (*****)

This is thankfully a barren disc, so no one will have to suffer anymore than they already have from watching the movie. 6 deleted scenes are introduced by the films director and play straight through. Each scene gets an explanation for why it was cut. The majority were cut obviously because they made the movie drag on too long. Shame he didn’t cut more out of the actual film that might have made it a wee bit more bearable. All that’s left is the trailer, production notes, and some cast & crew info. (*)

This is an abominable movie, hampered by ever flaw a movie can be hampered by. It’s far too long, has countless boring dialogue sequences, a cheap excuse for a creature, and far too little action to be exciting. I’m not sure why this movie was exported over from its home country, but it’s a mistake that I won’t soon forget. Even as a die-hard creature fan, this one stood no chance almost right from the start.

Originally posted at Breaking Windows.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://walker.homeunix.org/kblog Kurt Nordstrom

    I thought that the movie was outlandish, over-the-top, incoherent and gratuitous. Strangely, though, it was a great ride. I was well entertained throughout. Crazy, but good.