Lovers of the Twilight novels and movies will adore this film; however, those who dislike the Twilight Saga will, unfortunately, not care for it. Like the original Twilight book and movie this film opens with an internal monologue from the main female character Valarie (Amanda Seyfried) (Mean Girls, Mama Mia!, Letters to Juliet). Unlike Bella’s opening prophetic internal monologue, Seyfried’s reveals the past, her life up to this point, and how she “tried to be a good girl” as her mother instructed, but how she has loved the dark, handsome semi-outsider Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) since childhood–she always broke the rules to see him. Another harkening to Twilight is the gorgeous setting in British Columbia; during the opening interlude the camera majestically sweeps over the breathtaking scenery.
Early on Seyfried discovers that her parents have arranged for her to marry Henry Lazar (Max Irons) in exchange for money. Upon hearing this disturbing news (later she reports to her grandmother that she feels as if she is being sold) she is prepared to run off and elope with Peter (Fernandez) but at that moment tragedy strikes. Seyfried’s older sister, Lucy (shown only as a corpse), has been killed by the werewolf that plagues their small, rural village of Daggerhorn.
Next, the plot thickens–the entire audience realizes along with Valarie (Seyfried) that Lucy was in love with Henry (Irons). Could it be that when she discovered her love had chosen her sister, she sought the wolf out so as not to have to live without him. Although several of the town’s younger female residents deem this romantic, everyone is now deathly afraid of the wolf; according to the grandmother the wolf used to wipe out entire families, but it has not claimed a human life in twenty years. Peter (Fernandez) drops by Valarie’s (Seyfried’s) house to be there for her, in the guise of ‘paying his respects’. But the mother sees right through this and orders Peter (Fernandez) off, chasing him away with a classic line: “if you love her, you’ll let her go.” Everyone is now so afraid of the wolf that, in a show of manhood, all the men of the village go to hunt it.
After they return victorious a respected and rather pompous religious figure, with quite a few witches and werewolves under his belt, named Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) (best known for his work in theHarry Potter films) arrives and attempts to burst their bubble. Father Sol (as his followers call him) tells the tragic story of the first werewolf he slew and insists (rather rudely) that after a werewolf has been killed it reverts to its human form; therefore, they have just killed an ordinary, common gray wolf.
Furthermore the actual werewolf, that Father Sol claims is still alive and living among them, has a three day window of opportunity to create a fellow werewolf–with a single bite. The cosmological model that Father Solomon (Oldman) uses to demonstrate this definitely breaks the historical realism, but some of the costumes do this as well. The townspeople, refusing to believe the wolf is still extant, plan a huge celebration for that very night. Speaking of breaking historical realism, the dance scene during the celebration definitely does so.
Fallowing the dance scene Valarie and Peter (Seyfried and Fernandez) have an intense romantic interlude that seems to set things back on track with their romance. Until all hell breaks loose. The werewolf breaks into the village and kills many in order to speak to Valarie (Seyfried). It speaks to her as if human, shows her human eyes, and promises to leave Daggerhorn in peace if she leaves with it. There is a witness and all the witness hears is growling, not human speech.
From this point on, everyone is a suspect–suspected of being the wolf; in Valarie’s (Seyfried’s) mind this is particularly the case for anyone exhibiting human eyes matching those of the wolf. The big questions are why does Valarie (Seyfried) understand the wolf and what does the wolf want with her. Does this mean she is evil? The witness, who eventually turns her in, sure thinks so. Many more plot twists fallow what has been described. All leading up to the main question: Who is the big, bad wolf? After this question is answered, there is one final plot twist. As a closing note, the ending is great, because it does not tie everything up in neat little bows–it merely shows the potential for happiness.