Movie Review: Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally time. That time of year that I announced a month ago. One of my favorite parts of the year. LET THE MONTH OF SPOOKS COMMENCE!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hour of the Wolf”.

When spending some quality time with his wife (Liv Ullmann) on a remote island, painter John Borg (Max von Sydow) begins to have a breakdown as his inner start tormenting him. So now we have our drama that features specks of horror throughout. And is the plot any good? It has a good setup, but ultimately just kind of bores in its first half. I don’t mind slow burners, but very little of substance actually happens in that first half, and I found myself checking my watch quite a bit. Then during the second half it picks up quite a bit and get some really good stuff, both in terms of plot development and overall disturbance factor. So how would I sum up my thoughts on the plot in its entirety? Fine.

The characters in this are all flawed, layered, and overall interesting. Max von Sydow plays Johan Borg, the man at the center of this story, a painter with some inner demons he must battle. And I’m not saying much more other than I find his character journey quite intriguing. And von Sydow is great in the role. Then we have Liv Ullmann as his wife, Alma. A caring woman who just wants to live a good life with her husband, it’s interesting to see her experiencing this breakdown that her husband is having, giving her quite a bit of depth. And Ullmann is fantastic in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like Gertrud Fridh (R.I.P), Georg Rydeberg (R.I.P), Erland Josephson (R.I.P), and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music for the movie was composed by Lars Johan Werle (R.I.P), and it’s pretty good. It’s used fairly sparingly, but when they actually use it, it is quite horrific, using a lot of horrific stings to give off a sort of disturbing and horrific vibe akin to most horror movies at the time. And I find it to be quite effective.

The movie was written and directed by Ingmar Bergman (R.I.P), and I think he did a really godo job with it here. he has crafted such a unique and intriguing mood for the film. Even in the first half, that I said I wasn’t a fan of,  the mood set by Bergman’s direction keeps it from becoming 100% uninteresting. And when we get to the second half, the mood really kicks into gear along with the plot, and we get a truly haunting and surreal ambiance that had me absolutely captivated. This is also where we get the horror stuff, which is more disturbing than outright scary, but it still kinda got to me, so I guess it did something right.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Hour of the Wolf” pitches some good ideas, and has some effective scenes, but is far from flawless. It has a fine plot, pretty good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down by the first half being quite boring and uninteresting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hour of the Wolf” is a 7,76/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Hour of the Wolf” is now completed.

“Werewolf?”
“There wolf”. But there are no wolves anywhere, you lied to me, Igor.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Hour of the Wolf (1968)

  1. A well-liked film with a great acting and directing pedigree. But to be honest, I found it a bit stodgy, and too slow at the start. Mind you, I was only 17 when I watched it. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I take it you’ve not watched much Bergman before this? 😉

    His films are usually quite slow and dense in their narrative, but I must admit I had a hard time with this one too but it worked out in the end. 🙂

  3. Pingback: The Month of Spooks 2018 Roundup | TheMarckoguy

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