Review: Wolf (2019)


A small group of Roman soldiers have ventured north beyond Hadrian’s wall, to find missing messengers. However, they soon find themselves under attack from something in the woods…

Centurion meets Dog Soldiers.

That was my first thought upon hearing the premise of this film. I thought the writers, Stuart Brennan and George McCluskey had watched Neil Marshall’s films and decided to put them together. But if that had been the intention, then sad to say, it hasn’t worked at all.

The first of this films many issues is the budget. The shots of the highlands of Scotland are done well. It does capture the beauty and harshness of them very well indeed. But, it’s as if most of the budget had gone on those shots, as it’s the only way to explain the rest of the film. Considering the premise, as well as hints of battles in the trailer and such, I would have expected a lot more onscreen violence. Instead, most of it happens just off camera. What little action we do see onscreen isn’t terrible, but for a film of this type, you needed more.

The basic story itself isn’t that bad in fairness, but the script is awful. The characters are walking cliches, in that we have the usual mix of characters you would get in a group like this. One even has a child on the way (if you know your cliches, you know what’s coming!). It’s a shame, as there are possible, potential story ideas here that aren’t developed at all, or at least to their full potential which could have helped make the film more interesting. The ending too, is more a case of the film just stopping, rather than a proper ending.

The cast don’t help either. Stuart Brennan, Mark Paul Wake, Victoria Morrison, Adanna Oji and George McCluskey are among the cast, but the acting is not good, sadly. Some of the dialogue they have to work with doesn’t help, but even so, the cast is weak.

I don’t actually think Stuart Brennan directs the film that badly. He does the best he can with his obviously limited budget, trying to make up for what he can’t show, with shooting at night and in mist. It doesn’t always work, but you can admire his efforts.

The music for the film is very generic, but Simon Stolland does shoot the film very well it has to be said.

I really wanted to like Wolf. It was good to see such a small, unknown film getting into the multiplex cinemas. It’s something I bang on about constantly, so getting to support such a film is, I think, a good thing, especially if you want more of the smaller films to make their way into cinemas.

But as a film, Wolf was a big letdown. As an action film it doesn’t work. As a horror film it doesn’t work.

And as a result, Wolf really is nothing to howl about.

Rating: * out of 5


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