Viewers going into this one expecting a standard issue werewolf movie will be sorely disappointed, but those willing to stick it out will be rewarded with an unconventional, sometimes very gripping take on the well-worn concept of people who turn into savage, blood-thirsty beasts whenever the moon is full.
No full moons in this one though, substituted here for the dizzying lights in the sex clubs of some British metropolis. The connection between Lycanthropy and sex/porn goes back to the The Howling (’81) (which for my money is still the best werewolf movie), but in this one it’s as if the red light district opening scenes of that earlier classic were stretched out to full length.
The movie opens with the brutal murder of a woman, shown with smart ambiguity to give the impression that it is indeed the work of wild beasts, then becomes a police procedural as a dogged, insomniac cop probes the seamy underbelly of the city to find her killer. It seems the woman was a regular on the scene at the kinky fetish club called Dis, and it isn’t long before our Detective is on the trail of a Dr. Feelgood who has produced a new mystery drug rumored to help takers tap into their inner-animal.
It’s not hard to see where this is going, and the movie doesn’t really offer too many surprises, and very few real scares, unfortunately, and no werewolf transformations either, but as a portrait of a cop who gets in too deep, it’s actually pretty decent. The lighting is really good, and the angles are well-chosen to give the impression of people disappearing through portals into other worlds, and the performances are uniformly excellent, especially Alan Convy as a good-natured hedonist (cleverly named Wolfgang) who takes the Detective under his wing and guides him through the underworld. The cop’s dissolving marriage is well-played also.
The whole thing is very slow, and too long by twenty minutes, including an outrageously long montage of the obsessed cop prowling the streets. And it’s nowhere near sexy enough. It’s refreshing, though, to see a story with a pack of savage women at its center. All in all, I’d sum it up this way — At its best, it’s as if Michael Mann decided to make a werewolf movie. At it’s worst, it’s as if Michael Mann decided to make a werewolf movie.
Review: Baron Von Marte