It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"A wolf is sometimes much more than he seems". -- Granny
The key word there is "he." There are no female wolves in this film, or at least not in the leading roles. The wolves are all male, and the males are almost all wolves. Granny warns her young granddaughter to beware of men whose eyebrows meet, for in the full of the moon their hidden natures are likely to emerge, and they will have fangs, and sharp claws, and eyes that glow in the dark. The girl believes her, but she still puts on her red hood and walks through the woods to grandmother's house, and is surprised by what big teeth Granny has.
"The Company of Wolves" is a dream about werewolves and little girls and deep, dark forests. It is not a children's film and it is not an exploitation film; it is a disturbing and stylish attempt to collect some of the nightmares that lie beneath the surface of "Little Red Riding Hood."
The movie begins in the present, but quickly enters the dreams of an adolescent girl. She dreams many variations on the same theme: That men may turn out to be wolves, and that little girls should never, ever, stray from the path through the woods. The movie creates its dream world on British sound stages, which have been used to make a gloomy, fantastical universe filled with gnarled trees, wicked thorn bushes, clammy mists, torturous paths, and birds' nests filled with mirrors and lipsticks, and eggs that don't have chicks inside of them. In this world, the characters tell each other stories. All of the stories begin with those delicious words, "Once upon a time." Granny (Angela Lansbury) tells most of the stories to her granddaughter, but the girl tells stories too, and after one of them her mother says, "Granny knows a great deal, but she doesn't know everything. And if there is a beast inside every man, he meets his match in the beast inside of every woman."
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