THE HAIR OF THE BEAST
(Le Poil de la Bête)
One is immediately reminded of Christophe Ganss Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001). Both are films with an historical French setting although where Brotherhood of the Wolf is set in feudal France, The Hair of the Beast has a colonial background. Both feature a cross-section of society from the era, serfs and lords, dealing with the ravages of a wolf-like creature through the countryside. What is particularly standout here is the films creating of a textured and credible historical setting. The countryside is also shot in a way that makes for a beautifully photographed film.
The Hair of the Beast proves rather amusing in its whiplash plot complication how Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge poses as a priest but swears and cannot remember the rites during a funeral service and how this is immediately taken by the villagers as proof that he is turning evil from the werewolf bite; how he escapes and spends the night with Viviane Audet and then begs her to give evidence that he was not on a killing rampage, only for her to abruptly realise that this would mean she would be tried for witchcraft for seducing a priest. These complications, masquerades and opposing factions interweave and play off each other with amusing dexterity.
On the other hand, the film proves far less interesting when it comes to precisely the reason it is being reviewed here its werewolf. Any actual appearances of the wolf, at least as anything other than a figure hidden in the shadows, do not occur until the last ten minutes. When we do finally get to see the transformed wolfman, it is a CGI effect that disappointingly only looks like a ratty wet dog.