Thursday, June 01, 2017
Wolves At The Door (2017)
DIRECTOR: John R. Leonetti
WRITER: Gary Dauberman
Set in 1969, four friends are gathered at a nice house in the hills to celebrate two of the four friends moving across country. The friends are enjoying their farewell party until they are set upon by a group of intruders who plan on a much more harrowing evening for these four friends. What starts out as a night filled with memories, love, and happiness will soon turn to horror when these four friends will fight for survival if they plan on seeing daylight.
Wolves At The Door was another film that slipped under the radar for me. I had seen the film's poster but not a single trailer or any other promotion for the film. I had no idea what this film was about but going just off the poster and not even reading the tagline for the film, I assumed I was in store for another home invasion type of film. I had not a clue that I was about to witness a movie based around the true crime and murders of Sharon Tate and her close friends by the Manson family.
I am a huge fan of true crime. I am one of those people that religiously watches the CI channel. I try and watch all the latest shows around infamous crimes. You can say that I have always been pretty interested in serial killers and cults. So when I began watching Wolves At The Door and soon discovered that it was based on the infamous murders, I got very excited. I'm always happy to welcome movies that handle tough subject matter like real serial killers and murders.
Being that this is a movie that is set on the night that eventually leads to the brutal murder of Hollywood actress and wife of film director Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate. I wondered how they would tackle this type of subject matter. How do you do a horror movie based on a heavily pregnant actress that was stabbed sixteen times. I had to wonder if they would actually take it to the darkest of places and show just how evil human nature can be and show these crimes for what they were or would they shy away from the murders?
If you're aware of the real murders like I am, you will not be surprised by how this film ends. It will be no surprise or shock that these people will be murdered. This movie follows the rough timeline of the night of the murders. I'm sure they have taken liberties with dialogue, as well as the characters fighting back against their killers and a few of the chase scenes may haven been added to give the movie a much-needed boost of tension. For the most part, I personally feel that they tried to do the story justice.
I think Wolves At The Door sadly shies away from going all the way. The film does have a few stabbings and scenes where we see characters being murdered but the one character who they probably should have delved into more, is pulled off screen. I can understand why they would make this decision. It's tough. Do you go to those dark places that Inside (2007) went to and show a pregnant woman being murdered or is it less is more? I think they could have given us more and shown just how much Sharon Tate went through than the content would have played more disturbing. This missed an opportunity to show us the ferocity of the murders.
The acting in the film is good for the most part. I think Katie Cassidy as Sharon Tate may have been the wrong choice. There is nothing wrong with the performance but in terms of looks and feel, you just can't compare Katie Cassidy to Sharon Tate. I think Elizabeth Henstridge who looks awfully familiar yet I have never seen anything she has done before is my favourite role in the film. She feels like the lead yet isn't the Sharon Tate character. Her character gets the most to work with and I felt horrible for her character. The two who I assume were boyfriend/husband characters felt underused to me.
Is Wolves At The Door scary? I think leading up to the murders, the movie was building quite the mood and tone. I knew what was coming but I was enjoying the whole build up of our four lead characters seeing shadows, people walking past the windows or creepy noises. I thought this was rather effective. I thought there were also clever shots where the characters would be walking down a hallway and on the other side of the wall, we would see one of the intruders slowly hunting them down. I thought the cinematography was great. The director got the most of the set.
Lastly, I think the pacing will be the downfall for a lot of people. This isn't a thrill ride. I think this is more slow burn. The movie is also extremely short in running time. We aren't given much in the way of character development either so we don't get to know much about these people other than that they will become a part of one of the most infamous crimes in history. We meet these characters, their killers aren't really shown and kept in the dark for most of it. It's all very rushed when it comes to the story. Still, it's not the worst movie that's based on a real crime.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Writing in blood on the walls.
- Someone is hit in the head with a sledgehammer.
- People are stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone is stabbed in the back.
- A man is stabbed to death on the couch.
- A woman is strangled.
- Someone cuts their hand on glass.
Wolves At The Door details one of the darkest chapters in Hollywood. Sharon Tate, a famous actress and married to one of the most beloved film directors of all time was brutally murdered by the Manson family. This could have been a seriously dark entry in the true crime horror movie and instead, we get a movie that falls short. While we have some decent performances, solid camera work, and a few creepy moments early on, there isn't much else to this film. A short running time doesn't allow for much character development and the pacing at times drags. Recommended if you don't mind a movie that takes a few liberties with the Sharon Tate murder.