THE WOLF HOUR *** USA 2019 Dir: Alistair Banks Griffin. 99 mins
Enjoy this gripping tale from Hamway Films that will leave you with a feeling of having been mentally stalked by a metaphorical but nonetheless bloodthirsty wolf in New York.
June Leigh is a troubled and chain-smoking writer who has trapped herself in her dead mother’s apartment in the warzone-like suburb of the South Bronx in 1977 and the era and context are done beautifully here by the producing and directing team. June has a very dark secret to tell that will unfold gradually as the movie pulls you in with it’s very slow release tension in what is an enjoyable psychological detective thriller that relies heavily on some superb writing, classy shooting and good dialogue to keep the entertainment level high and the questions flowing through your mind.
Indeed, you may have to live the book to write the book!
Paranoia and neurosis are the key factors that underscore the film so if you’re after more pace and action then look away now or try another title, but for the more thoughtful viewer this is a very absorbing movie that will soak up your attention like a soft yet menacing sponge and I personally found it very engaging to discover all the elements that can be woven around just one central character.
June (expertly played by Naomi Watts) is isolated, alone and incredibly edgy in a world that appears to be closing in and crumbling around her. Her writing is struggling and so is her intense agoraphobia, which nicely adds to the suspense and fear factor of the film. She even hires a midnight cowboy for some erotic fun to try and shake herself out of this paralysis a scene which serves as a nice interlude to the film’s more dark undertones. Her new friend then encourages her to face her fears and try which she then does.
This film’s overall style will suit the more curious of us, the ones who like to delve deeper into the human psyche as it builds some quite brilliant and claustrophobic tension with a small cast and a creepy score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Juriaans. The result is a good and tense movie that holds on to many mysterious secrets. The tick of June’s typewriter is used well later on to keep the interest moving and with June’s high level of emotional intensity and fear she manages to finish her script for her nagging publisher.
But what is her dark secret? Is it the cause of her agoraphobic fears?
You may find out if you follow June’s story as the crescendo of the film evolves into quite a riot as her book, ‘A Season In The Abyss’ is finally completed in time at the cliffhanger ending that will leave more questions than answers in this intriguing and mildly unsettling offering that is well worth a look.
Review by Nathan Sandiford