This week’s Shelf Pick, Werewolf, is guaranteed to delight horror fans. Writer-director Adrian Panek’s gripping genre mash-up is a WWII-era horror-thriller with elements of Lord of the Flies.
The title may bring to mind visions of over-the-top B-movies but Werewolf is both a grounded and challenging film. Panek has crafted an emotionally harrowing horror experience that’s more likely to run in arthouses.
The plot sees a group of children liberated from a Nazi concentration camp take refuge in a run-down mansion, where they find themselves trapped by bloodthirsty attack dogs.
Werewolf made its debut in 2018 and went on to earn loads of praise on the festival circuit. I caught Werewolf at Toronto After Dark last year, and Panek’s bleak exploration of humanity’s darker side lingered on my mind long after the story ended. Panek’s film strikes a perfect balance between a clever coming-of-age drama and a tension-soaked horror movie.
Beautifully shot, thematically rich, and packed with great performances, Werewolf is well worth 90-minutes of your time.
Summer, 1945. Eight children from Gross Rosen concentration camp find a provisional hiding place in an abandoned orphanage nearby, lost among forests. It seems that after the horrors of the war feral children may come back to normal life. All of a sudden idyllic atmosphere of peace and quietness is interrupted. The nightmare returns. In the surrounding forests wolfhounds are circling. The dogs were released by SS officers before the liberation of Gross Rosen camp. Wolfhounds – taught and used to kill prisoners – surrounded young heroes in the orphanage. All the attempts of escaping the place are failing. Children without any food and water turn into madness and wilderness once again. But the real danger lurks inside the palace.