Hollywood Product: The Wolfman (1)

Director Joe Johnston unleashes the beast in Benicio

GENRE: Old-school monster mash

THE PITCH: Prodigal son Lawrence Talbott (Benicio Del Toro) returns from America to visit his spooky English manor and his spooky English dad (Anthony Hopkins). A bite from a shaggy monster brings out the beast in Lawrence, despite the attentions of pretty Gwen (Emily Blunt) and the authority of Inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving).

MONEY SHOTS: An attack on a gypsy camp nearly equals the bloodshed of Saving Private Ryan's Omaha Beach scene. One of those Elephant Man-era medical demonstrations goes hilariously wrong. The silver bullet trade booms in a freaked-out village. Fur really flies in the final lupine smackdown. Makeup maestro Rick Baker doesn't outdo the transformation scene from An American Werewolf in London, but still crafts creepy images of sprouting snouts and splayed fingers.

BEST LINE: "Unfortunately, a 'curse' does not give me warrant to wander Sir John's estate," intones Abberline, like a Scotland Yard version of Weaving's Agent Smith from the Matrix.

The Wolfman

3 out of 5 stars. Directed by Joe Johnston. Stars Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins. Rated R. Opens Fri., Feb. 12. At area theaters.

BEST BAD LINE: "You moron!" Lawrence snaps at a foolhardy unbeliever.

BODY COUNT: A London newspaper announces "Dozens Killed By Monster," so at least three dozen, I guess. Body parts fly so freely it's hard to keep track of the actual fatalities. Be prepared for headless bodies, bodiless heads, severed hands still holding pistols and the like. Perhaps the squirmiest moment is the close-up of the gypsy woman (Geraldine Chaplin) sewing up a wound with what looks like a fishhook.

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(Photo courtesy Universal)