Polish horror drama ‘Werewolf’ concerns a group of children recently liberated from a Nazi concentration camp. As they settle into an abandoned mansion deep in the forest, they not only have to overcome thirst and hunger, but also fend off a pack of vicious dogs…
Those hoping to see a werewolf will be disappointed, but this film cleverly combines coming-of-age elements and survival horror thrills. It has an interpretative title; whether meant for the Nazi’s and how war has transformed them into beasts, how a young child might view grisly injuries on a decaying corpse and come to the conclusion that it was caused by something from fantasy, or even how the children themselves have been forever changed by their horrific ordeal. And it’s quite understandable why one of the young ones poses the question: Have the SS officers turned into wolves? as the animals attack with bloodthirsty intensity.
You won’t get familiar with any names, but the group of characters are good. And of course there’s an unstable member who threatens to endanger everyone more than once. (Is he the metaphorical werewolf?) The psychological and physical effects of past imprisonment has worn these children down, but they combine their wits when the dogs lay siege to their decrepit shelter, and there are a number of tense sequences and savage attacks, some of which are done in slow motion quite nicely.
Overall, ‘Werewolf’ is a solid, unexpected treat. The acting and cinematography is faultless, and it contains a thematically rich narrative that keeps you engaged even when it settles into a more straightforward horror groove.
Score – 7/10