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article imageReview: ‘Wolves’ sniffs out the details Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Nov 14, 2014 in Entertainment
‘Wolves’ is a coming-of-age story about an uninformed werewolf accepting his true nature, meticulously constructed by a first-time director.
Young adult fiction has always been preoccupied with the fantastic or supernatural. It allows teens to confront the changes they are experiencing in a safe environment. A review of the CW network's primetime programming and movies targeted to that demographic in recent years is further evidence that this is a popular genre for that age group. Wolves is an ideal fit for this category.
Cayden (Lucas Till) has everything going for him until he doesn't. Wanted for assault and a high-priority suspect in a murder investigation, he goes on the run. He's only just discovered he's a werewolf and doesn't know what else to do. His journey takes him to a small town where he finds others like him who live peacefully with their secret. But Cayden didn't stumble on this place by accident — he's been drawn there for a reason.
The first act wastes no time before diving into Cayden's unusual growing pains. He narrates the events leading up to what is effectively his banishment from home, including a surprising demonstration of agility at a football game and the negative effects of being over-stimulated. Then unbelievable luck brings Cayden into contact with another wolf who leads him to the extraordinary town.
There are ancient feuds that dictate the current state of affairs. Old bloodlines mean a lot as does their continuation. Of course, Cayden falls for a girl promised to the leader of a rogue pack led by the hulking Jason Mamoa. Having caused problems for those on which he's imposed, Cayden determines to save them from the brute who's oppressed them for so long. Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff for the subgenre.
An example of the finely detailed wolf make-up in David Hayter s  Wolves
An example of the finely detailed wolf make-up in David Hayter's 'Wolves'
Ketchup Entertainment
The wolf effects are top-notch. Writer/director David Hayter wanted the actors’ performances to be visible through the make-up. Each one-time use mask cost approximately $60,000 and moves to illustrate their facial expressions. They lack the traditional long snout and pointy ears in favour of more subtle features. Even when the wolves are fully transformed, there are elements of their human appearance in their fur and eyes.
Though this is Hayter’s directorial debut, he’s penned some major blockbusters, including the first and second X-Men, and Watchmen. He is a talented storyteller and is finally given the opportunity to bring his text to life. He obviously had a clear vision of what he thought it should look like and he adeptly accomplishes it.
Till is competent in portraying a teen physically and emotionally mature for his age. His especially deep voice lends itself perfectly to the role. Mamoa’s imposing physicality complements his efforts to imitate the animal’s behaviour. And in spite of their significant difference in stature, Stephen McHattie goes toe-to-toe with Mamoa more than once without showing even the slightest hint of being intimidated.
The fight choreography is free of acrobatics, limiting their actions to movements that rely on strength rather than skill. The explosive ending ups the ante, though tries to maintain a sense of humanity in the midst of their animalistic appetites. Hayter’s attention to detail really shows throughout and displays definite potential for future projects.
Director: David Hayter
Starring: Jason Momoa, Lucas Till and Stephen McHattie
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