The setting: France in the 18th century. The problem: a powerful beast is decimating local villages, killing cattle and villagers with no discrimination for either. The solution: Two military attachés sent by the King to seek out and kill the Beast; one who is more than capable in hand-to-hand combat, the other who has advanced forensic skills.
“Brotherhood of the Wolf” is a breath of fresh air. It garnered praise upon its initial release, and rightly so, for successfully merging several different genres of film into one cohesive story. “Brotherhood” is a suspenseful, spiritual, angsty, bawdy, horror flick that just happens to have a French-speaking Indian who knows kung-fu. Now, honestly, what could be more original than that? The cinematography is stunning, and all the performances are top-notch.
I strongly recommend (as I always do) that you take the chance and view it with subtitles. Subtitles are one-step removed from the original dialogue, while dubbing is actually twice-removed (the dubbed script is written from the translation, and then manipulated further in an attempt to match mouth-movements). Not only does dubbing sometimes alter the script, it always alters the original actor’s performance.
If you’re open to something creative and different, check it out.
Pros: Stays original and true to itself while still recalling some old-school horror goodness (“An American Werewolf In London” comes to mind). Gorgeous cinematography.
Cons: Too many people will be put off by subtitles and pass on a film all horror fans should view at least once.
Review Rating: 4 out of 5 lupine drool-covered internal organs.
“Brotherhood of the Wolf” (2001)
Also known as: “Le Pacte des Loups”
142 Minutes (152 Minute Director’s cut also available); France / Canada
Rated R for strong violence and gore, and sexuality/nudity.
Samuel Le Bihan (Grégoire de Fronsac)
Vincent Cassel (Jean-François de Morangias)
Émilie Dequenne (Marianne de Morangias)
Monica Bellucci (Sylvia)
Jérémie Renier (Thomas d’Apcher)
Mark Dacascos (Mani)
Directed by: Christophe Gans
Written by: Stéphane Cabel and Christophe Gans
Viewing Format: DVD