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I’ve come to the realization that I still don’t know what the title means in reference to the film. Is it Omar’s journey to Ocho Rios, the secluded ranch in Uragray? Is it Jules, the writer who shot himself on the premises? Is it his brother Adam, or his adopted son Pete, who live in quietly seclusion, yet want more for the other person? Is it Jules’ widow Caroline, who desperately wants out of Ocho Rios? Or is it Jules’ mistress, Arden, who is yearning for a new human connection?

I really don’t know. I almost don’t care.

That’s a little harsh. The film isn’t entirely without remit; it’s a film that just seems to go somewhere, but not really. It might just be the characters themselves: Omar doesn’t have much motivation to write an authorized biography about Jules, though he needs to for completing his doctorate in English. His girlfriend, Deirdre, has one personality: overbearing. The script gives her nothing other than making pushing Omar around. It’s almost like the biography is hers to write; the story works for her character, but it’s so underdeveloped that I really had no feeling or compassion for her at all, especially when we see her at the end of the movie.

The most interesting dynamic at Ocho Rios comes between Adam and Pete. Adam wants Pete to move on, having adopted him 25 years prior. Pete would rather not: he has great plans for the ranch, but his hands are tied by an unmoving Caroline. This plot does resolve itself well enough. The relationship, meanwhile, is a strange one. At first glance, I considered them to be lovers of sort (Pete laying naked to a clothed Adam in one scene suggested that), but I think there is a deeper love, extending beyond that of a conventional relationship. Pete owes everything to Adam; it’s devotional, but it’s almost quite familial as well. This is the most interesting aspect in the film.

Caroline, meanwhile, stubbornly refuses to have a biography written about Jules. She doesn’t give much of a reason – she doesn’t need to give one really – but her stubbornness is quite frustrating at times. She does hide a manuscript that Jules was working on before he killed himself, on which the contents reflected life on Ocho Rios, in a somewhat fictional way. That’s probably why she doesn’t want one, but she never explicitly states so, even after finally agreeing to allow the biography to be written.

The mistress, Arden, is almost exactly like Omar: no thought of her own, some wandering child in a field type character. She has a connection with Omar almost right away, one as a yearning for human contact, but also with a potential romance between them. There’s more between the two characters: an early conversation seems to suggest that fate drew them together. But, they’re easily the most unlikable characters in the film, simply because they have no single individual thought between them. They do eventually exhibit some sort of independence in the world (Arden decides to allow the biography to be written after originally going against it, Omar decides to confront Caroline himself over the authorization of the biography), and in each other, but by then I lost all conviction for believing in them.

The scenery was nicely shot, both inside and around Ocho Rios. The ranch felt like a jungle hideaway, with lush green trees and a crystal clear lake on the premises. The surrounding landscape, meanwhile, was a sort of underdeveloped desert, with unpaved roads and open farm lands.  A school bus runs along the road, and cattle are driven through the fields that line the road.  The two places are nicely contrasted.  The music was subtle as well, and non-intrusive.

Still, I’m not completely sold on the film, and the epilogue, which advances the film three years after the resolution, does nothing but add frustration.  Somewhat decent in parts, but on a whole, not really worth it.

C+

I can quickly summarize this movie in three words, a dash and a letter: B-movie horror fest.

I commend Universal for attempting to rejuvenate it’s properties, or at least in a proper way.  After the suckfest that was Van Helsing, I’m sure they needed to go back to basics in terms of what they should do in properly bringing characters like the Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula, etc., back to the big screen.  Thus, after much delay, Universal finally released the Wolfman, and while it’s far from perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.

The most basic problems just come from the film itself: generic horror plot, shoddy acting with equally shoddy dialogue, and action sequences that occasionally are cut far too much to make sense.  Then again, what horror movie requires more than just those small requirements?  I know, I’m asking for far too much, but then again, there are exceptions.  The Wolfman is an exception, in the sense that it’s a popcorn movie, not a terribly good one, but popcorn nonetheless.

Though, I suppose avoid the popcorn.  There are ample amounts of gore and viscera throughout that may upset those with weak stomachs.  This movie definitely earned its R rating.

If there is one thing I’d like to highlight real quick (yes, I know it’s short, but I’m not sure how many different ways I can use “generic” in a 5-7 paragraph review), it’s the use of CGI in assisting with the wolfman transformation.  It’s acceptable, though not perfect.  I like the lead in to it: instead of just making it completely generic, the filmmakers wisely allowed del Toro to act through those sequences until the CGI completely took over.  He is quite a good actor: his facial expressions and body movements definitely show someone in pain when going through a physical transformation like his character did in the movie.  Kudos to him for being able to do that.

Still, it is B-movie horror fest with the Wolfman.  Horror fans and fans of the classic Universal monsters will delight in this.  Everyone else, like me, will probably proceed with caution.

C+

On a lighter note, a friend on Facebook found this random story about a Twilight fan who took offense to Universal “ripping” off the werewolf from New Moon.  Extremely hilarious.  Take a look at the comments along the way: another Twilight fan suggests that Universal isn’t completely ripping Twilight off because the wolves are in fact shapeshifters.  Disturbing times indeed.