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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Tzahi Grad
Rotem Keinan
Lior Ashkenazi.
Directors
Aharon Keshales
Navot Papushado.
Screenwriters
Aharon Keshales
Navot Papushado.
Running Time
110 minutes

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Big Bad Wolves
It’s QT’s favourite film of 2013


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Plot
Dror (Keinan), prime suspect in a series of child murders, is stalked by Miki (Ashkenazi), a homicide cop transferred to traffic after assaulting him. Gidi (Grad), father of a missing girl, abducts Dror, making Miki his accomplice. As Gidi tortures Dror, his pleas prompt the cop to question his belief in the man’s guilt...


Review
Big Bad Wolves

Aharon Keshales and Avot Papushado’s debut feature Rabies — an escalation-of-disasters shaggy-dog tale with a Coenesque vibe — marked out the Israeli writer-directors as talents to watch. That promise is more than fulfilled in their second film, which manages a tricky balance of horror and black comedy. Its premise echoes other movies, including the recent Prisoners, but Big Bad Wolves takes a fresh approach. The War On Terror subtext has a deeper, darker meaning in an Israeli context, where the filmmakers suggest everyone has learned torture techniques during military service.

It opens with a fairy-tale nightmare as a child is snatched by an unseen killer while exploring an old house, then alternates edgy rogue-cop thrills (including one great suburban chase) with black comedy (bring-your-kid-to-work-day at the police station). Once it gets to the proverbial house in the woods, the focus narrows to a disturbing drama of torture — albeit with near-farcical interruptions. There’s a drugged cake, a parent who arrives with chicken soup and stays to wield a blowtorch, a passing Arab horseman, a little girl who needs picking up from ballet school and various familial guilts (all the men in the cellar are failures as fathers) to complicate things.

Like all versions of this story, there are only two possible outcomes. Big Bad Wolves holds off until the final shot to settle the issue. It will repay multiple viewings since, like Rabies, it’s fiendishly intricate and depends on wild changes of tone. It has a terrifically ominous score by Haim Frank Ilfman, occasionally broken by inappropriate ringtones (is there something off about an Israeli with a Ride Of The Valkyries ringtone?), and great performances all round.


Verdict
Even if you think you’ve seen this story too often, Big Bad Wolves will surprise and enthral. A thriller which bites deep, it has a light touch which finds humanity even in the worst horrors.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Big Bad Wolves
Empire Star Rating

OY VEY.....but in an interesting way....

An Israeli horror film? Not quite. But it is worth seeing for the pitch black comedy and some excellent performances. Tarantino said that this was the best picture of 2013 and after seeing it you can quite easily understand where he’s coming from. But where this film fell down for me was in it’s unnecessarily explicit images of violence and torture the tone of which, didn’t quite fit in with the semi - comic nature of all the drama that proceeded it. Big Bad Wolves starts off ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:24, 06 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Tonally all over the place and far from good

Even if you think you've seen this story too often, Big Bad Wolves will surprise and enthral. A thriller which bites deep, it has a light touch which finds humanity even in the worst horrors. ... More

Posted by chang at 09:28, 31 December 2013 | Report This Post


Tonally all over the place and far from good

Sure, there are some pretty funny moments and these work even in a problematic context. The problem is the tone it badly all over the place - the director is aspiring to a black comedy, which would certainly suit the subject matter. But instead much of his comedy is broad sitcom style farce, and that sits pretty badly. The story is a bit muddled - there's some inept character stuff and an attempt to position the main stand off but the idiocy of some of the strands supposed to be keeping thin... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by elab49 at 16:59, 06 December 2013 | Report This Post


Savage, dark, witty and outrageously fun; Big Bad Wolves is an effective chiller that combines it's talented cast, twists and gore to make a superior revenge horror flick.

The Revenge sub-genre has sailed down the I Spit on Your Grave root, and clearly it was a dead end as no other film of that sub-genre was able to pull something out of the bag that didn't involve a girl getting raped and then getting payback on those who wronged her. Big Bad Wolves treads along those lines in some aspects, but you have not seen a more original and savage Revenge flick like this in years. This little Israel gem from Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado may just be this year’... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jackcarlin18 at 19:46, 22 November 2013 | Report This Post


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