Wolf Manor review – cheerfully silly film-shoot werewolf horror

Wolf Manor review – cheerfully silly film-shoot werewolf horror

A washed-up actor is given another shot at movie-making but the set is being menaced by a fearsome creature in this enjoyably daft comedy romp

Wolf Manor
A terrible creature roaming the dark … Wolf Manor

Some amiable inanity and enjoyable daftness is served up here by James Fleet in this British comedy horror romp: he plays Oliver Lawrence, a stage and screen actor of a certain age who was once very big playing a vampire in a string of sub-Hammer shockers. Now that these films have become very big in east Asia, our refined thespian has been prevailed upon to reprise his cheesy fanged demon in a new low-budget film, something undertaken in an uncompromisingly cynical spirit of money-grubbing.

But the old manor house the producer has rented for the shoot turns out to be menaced by a genuine werewolf – which is generically confusing as well as everything else – and two journalists arriving for a set visit have an awful experience. Oliver loves to regale various baffled crew members with his anecdotes of performing Shakespeare, having a particular fondness for having played Macbeth in a groundbreaking open-air production. He muses: “The critics loved it of course … but then there’s always the threat of rain.” The director confides in him that these films “bought me a new boiler”. “They paid for my hip,” replies Oliver thoughtfully. But later, when Oliver actually confronts the fearsome werewolf in the misty forest, he declaims Macaulay: “How can man die better/Than facing fearful odds?”

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