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110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A real estate tycoon, his coke-binging wife and a slum wino have something grisly in common: they're the latest victims in a series of random murders. A veteran NYPD detective soon suspects the killings may be supernatural and deliberate: ages-old beings of cunning intelligence and incredible power, defending their turf from the encroachments of humankind.

DVD Features:
Filmographies:Cast/director film highlights
Interactive Menus
Scene Access
Theatrical Trailer


Wolfen is definitely the oddest and most socially conscious of the three big werewolf movies released in 1981 (the others were The Howling and An American Werewolf in London). Rumpled detective Albert Finney is investigating some brutal NYC murders, which leads him to discover that the collapsing buildings of the South Bronx are home to a pack of very vindictive wolflike creatures. American Indian mythology and environmental issues are more to the point here than silver-bullet lycanthropy. As a police procedural, the movie's a bust, its rhythms wrong and Finney's tortured Brooklyn accent unconvincing. But as a horror-mood piece, it can get under your skin. Some trippy photography, plus a bunch of interesting actors at the beginnings of their film careers (Diane Venora, Gregory Hines, and a lean and hungry Edward James Olmos), outweigh the druggy pace and period hairstyles. Director Michael Wadleigh (Woodstock) never made another feature. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Finney, Gregory Hines, Tom Noonan, Dick O'Neill, Edward James Olmos
  • Directors: Michael Wadleigh
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 13, 2002
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067FP6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,135 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wolfen" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 18, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Every once in a while there comes to the horror genre a film that is something more, which leaves the viewer unnexpectedly pondering. Hitchcock was a master at this, and, more recently we have had 'Seven,' and 'Silence of the Lambs.' Coming in the 1980's, when the werewolf film was largely beinng redefined ('The Howling,' and 'An American Werewolf in London') 'Wolfen' truly set itself apart.
Of course, the fact that it is not exactly a werewolf film has a bit to do with that. Set in a New York City that seems almost post devastation, with scene after scene in the worst possible slums it is a revelation of people in woeful straits, and a study of the predators (human and otherwise) that live among them. The film also flirts with Native American reality and myths and the nature of the pressures of urbanization.P>The bleak scene making, the totally believable performances by all the actors and the adept use of just enough violence and special effects combine to provide a compelling experience for the watcher. Michael Wadleigh (who also directed 'Woodstock') displays a sense of timing that uses each discovery to catapult the tension to new levels. This is not a film that permits clinical distance, but which strives to create a tumult of ideas that crystallize into a grand finale.
'Wolfen' is a horror film that begs the question of what really is the true horror, the monster or the man. My only regret is that this disc is pure film with no effort to provide any of the traditional extra features. I was hoping for at least an interview or two, or even a short on the filmmaking, but none of that is provided. Even so, I recommend this as a special treat for all horror buffs.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Miller on January 11, 2006
Format: DVD
Whitley Striebers book "Wolfen" explains alot more than this movie ever could. I still feel this movie was done very well. I was dissapointed that this dvd only has a trailer and no other special features. Wolfen was filmed beautifully in New York, Bklyn, Bronx, Staten Island. Wolfen really caught New York during 1980-1981,the big apple was some what different then. This film eerily catches the Bronx in a cold septic view. Wolfen made you very aware of the sociol class, poverty and drug problems of America during the early 1980s. The soundtrack by James Horner is simply awesome. In my opinion Wolfen was the best of the wolf movies of the early 1980s. They dont make movies like this anymore. This was Michael Wadleighs last film but really a well directed film with some interesting actors and charachters. Wolfen does have some political views as well as regarding mans technology against natures, and the treatment of the American Indian and thier connection to the wolf. Albert Finney plays an excellent NYPD detective. The late Gregory Hines an excellent pathologist. Veteran actor Dick O'neil plays a believable NYPD Captain. Diana Venora whatever became of Diane, but her charachter was really interesting to. This film also supplies some great landscape shots as well. People will have different views of Wolfen,but in all very entertaining. Take out of "Wolfen" what you will. "Wolfen knows all, there could be no lying". Michael Wadliegh and his crew do an awesome job with a steadicam and a louma crane capturing the predators prospective. A very well crafted film with some ambiguity.......
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Claude Avary on June 22, 2004
Format: DVD
1981 was "The Great Werewolf Year," when three major films heralded a revival of the legendary monster. "The Howling" and "An American Werewolf in London" have both become classics, while the third, "Wolfen," remains an oddity. It is definitely the strangest of the three and makes unusual changes to the werewolf mythology to the point that it might not be about werewolves at all. The usual standards of the genre -- silver bullets, wolfsbane, transformations, curses -- are nowhere to be seen, although there are hints of spiritual powers and cunning intelligence beyond the natural world. And while "American Werewolf in London" and "The Howling" contained extensive comedy and many genre-references along with their horror, "Wolfen" plays its story straight and dead serious. It has social issues mixed into its thrills 'n' chills premise: a police detective (Albert Finney) investigating murders in New York City that point toward a wolf-like killer, or possibly a whole pack of them. Director Michael Wadleigh (his only other film is the classic concert documentary "Woodstock") uses the horror movie backdrop as a venue for commentary on class, environmentalism, industrialization, and Native American politics.
This is an ambitious bill to fill, and "Wolfen" doesn't quite manage to pull it off. You can appreciate Wadleigh's goals, but he often trips over trying to do too much. The political grandstanding makes for a thoughtful horror movie, but it also slows the film down and overbalances it. Sometimes, you just want action and scares, and "Wolfen" frequently drags. It would have rocked at ninety-minutes, but at nearly two hours, it goes on for too long.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JOHN P. HANSSEN on October 25, 2006
Format: DVD
I'm actually very ambivilant towards this film--meaning I both love it and hate it at the same time. First of all, one of the main reasons I don't like this film is that it was more gory than it needed to be and the disturbing hospital scene was really not necessary for the film to be effective. Second, I thought it just ran on way too long, and about three quarters of the film, I really started to get antsy and wished the plot would speed up just a tad. However, one of the main reasons I liked this film was the highly effective suspense when the wolves' presence was near. This is especially noticed during the scene when both Albert Finney and his female detective partner are inside the old, run-down Gothic church and they kept hearing the sounds of the spirit wolves that had the eerie sound of babies crying in the night. This I felt was HIGHLY effective and the music that was played added to the suspense very well. Also, I thought it was interesting to see a movie that, to me, resembled a cross between "Interview With The Vampire" and "Dances With Wolves" with the elements of the old Gothic church, the ravishing blood and fangs, the Native Americans, and the environmental message--over 10 years before "Interview" and "Dances" would themselves make it to the silver screen. So, while I did enjoy some elements of the film, there were a number of elements that I felt they could have improved on. Despite all this, though, the film IS worth a viewing.

3.5 out of 5 stars
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