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  • Review by Leon Mason


As the proverb goes, never work with children or animals while making a film. Well, this director threw those words at the wall.

If you are wanting a werewolf film in the manner of early 1980s: The Howling, Wolfen, Company of Wolves, or the American variety that entered London, you will be let down. Also, if you are in the mood for the cheap SyFy channel creature features in all their crappy CGI glory, think again. This film is a Polish character study that does not fit into the conventional horror box - it’s real horror!

It is the year 1945, and a group of children have survived nearby Gross Rosen concentration camp. After growing up in these conditions, they have already lived through hell, what else could face them? Lacking in communication and social skills, they are evacuated, after all the adults at the camp are slaughtered. With only a need to endure whatever is thrown their way, they are thrown together à la Lord of the Flies. The food has run out, and no running water is available in the mansion they have been taken to. The only signs of adults are the soldiers, and a mysterious woman of the house. Their one protector does not want the job, and is only a teenager herself. Each sign of a rescue is only another threat in disguise.

At the same time, there is new way they are trapped and imprisoned, a pack of dogs from the camp have come looking for food. The rumour is these animals are the SS troops in dog form, werewolves out to continue the torture. Surrounding the building, in the middle of the woods, the children either have to find a way to escape these vicious killers, or discover they really aren’t any different from them. Each child, even as young as some of them are, will kill one another if it means their share of water or scrap of food could be taken away.

As a home invasion horror, it sways a little bit all over the place, its focus not being on keeping up the tension. Plus, the characters aren’t really built up in way that you latch onto their names and who they are, that being appropriate as they mostly refer to each other by grunts. Also, the tattooed identification numbers that they each have is mentioned. One scene of the boy trying to cut that number out of his skin is effective, in fact the performances of the children all around were exceptional. The film is, more than anything, about feral beasts put together, and what that involves. On that level it works terrifically and is well worth a viewing, if an uncomfortable one.

Werewolf will be released in UK cinemas nationwide from 20th September 2019

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