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Brotherhood of the Wolf – 4K Remaster Blu-Ray Review

This unusual and exciting period murder mystery/horror/action film has had a new 4K remaster and is now released onto Blu-ray and 4K UHD by Studio Canal.

During the reign of Louis XV, an isolated district of south-central France was haunted by the “Beast of Gévaudan” which savagely killed over 100 people, primarily women and children. As panic sweeps across the region, the King sends his finest military minds, the scientist and adventurer Grégoire de Fronsac and his Iroquois Indian blood brother Mani to flush out the Beast and kill it, but that is more difficult and complex than first thought.

It is challenging to put this film into a genre as it is a superb mix of many, superbly shot and directed by Christoph Gans it has rightly gained cult status over the years. The film integrates exotic themes of horror, sex, martial arts and fantasy – all of which allowed the director to put his imaginative style to good use.

Brotherhood of the Wolf meshes traditional horror with a werewolf theme and superb martial arts action from Mark Dacascos who almost steals the film as the cool but deadly Mani. The fight scenes are very Hong Kong in style which is no surprise as the choreographer was Philip Kwok, who martial arts movie fans will know as one of the Five Venoms in the cult Shaw Brothers movie of the same name and also Mad Dog the villain in John Woo’s Hard Boiled.

Mix in some love/sex interest courtesy of Monica Bellucci and Émilie Dequenne and a great cast which also includes Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassel and Jérémie Renier and you have an engrossing tale of intrigue and horror.

This release is of the longer director’s cut and this version includes two longer sequences. The first sequence shows footage of the relationship between Grégoire de Fronsac and the two ladies. The second one shows more details about his return. The time difference is around 8 minutes.

While the film is a little bloated and overlong at 2 hours and 24 minutes the changes in the story arc and the mystery unfolding always keep your attention. The action scenes as mentioned are the highlights and the horror and gore are kept to a minimum, while the CGI monster has dated somewhat.

The film has a new 4K remaster and looks superb much better than the old dated transfer on the previous releases. The image is spectacular, the film was shot in over 16 locations and the transfer embraces its natural flavouring, taking in those beautiful muddy and wet landscapes. The detail is crisp and clear with a nice grain structure.

Audio gives you a choice of a great and bombastic DTS 7.1 original French language mix and you also get a choice of an English dub which is LPCM Stereo.

The extras are as follows –

* BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF Director’s Cut (2022 restoration)
* Audio Commentary with Christophe Gans
* Audio Commentary with Vincent Cassel & Samuel Le Bihan
NEW Trailer

NEW Interview with Christophe Gans & Jean-Baptiste Thoret
* The Guts of the Beast
* Behind the scenes
* Deleted Scenes:
o The Fight
o The Crow
o Fronsac and Sardis
o The Frozen Lake
o The House Tessier
o Montage
* La Legend: a programme on the origins of The Beast
* Theatrical Trailer
* Restored Original trailer

A superb release of a great cult classic. (Also on 4K UHD)


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