Jacob Latimore, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett star in director Kasi Lemmons' seasonal drama.
On Film4: 17 Dec 11:00AM
A tense, frightening werewolf tale from the less hammy side of Hammer Films, boasting ahead-of-its-time special effects and the kind of creepiness you wish horror films would dish up more often
Yvonne Romain is a mute servant girl who is raped and gives birth to baby Leon on Christmas Day; the kid soon finds his behaviour dictated by the arrival of the full moon, and when he becomes an adult (Reed) seeks out ways to overcome his furry, murderous urges.
Rather than just go for all-out thrills and chills, the film actually benefits from a human angle, which makes Leon into a genuinely sympathetic character, and treats his predicament as a terrible burden which no one would ever wish for.
The film is all the more effective for its restrained build-up that increases the sense of tension and menace, culminating in the most impressive man-to-wolf transformation this side of An American Werewolf in London.
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