FrightFest 2013 Review: Big Bad Wolves

by Vicki Cole on 30/08/2013


When a young girl’s decapitated body is found in the woods, her father and a rogue police detective turn vigilante and attempt to torture a confession from a local teacher who has become the prime suspect in a series of gruesome murders.

There is a real ugliness embedded in Aharon Keshales’s and Navot Papushado’s Big Bad Wolves, both in regards to the crimes that are committed against innocent children and in the revenge doled out to the man suspected of inflicting these horrors. The injection of dark humour does, however, offset the grim seriousness of the central plot and lead actors Tzahi Grad, Lior Ashkenazi and Doval’e Glickman are excellent in their retrospective roles.

From the dank basement where acts of vengeance take place to the beautiful woods which hide the crimes committed against the girls, the directors make incredible use of locations to aid their storytelling. The title itself, Big Bad Wolves, alludes to fairy tales and a visual symbol of this is found in the use of simple, yet provocative items, such as a trail of sweets which lead the police to the location of a victim.

Keshales said that the story for Big Bad Wolves was born out of a rebellion against parents who filled young and impressionable heads with a paranoia about witches and werewolves (as a metaphor for child molesters) and it very much does seem to hinge on the idea of being suspicious of everyone and perhaps this is the reason why we are never really sure why the teacher is the earmarked as the culprit.

Big Bad Wolves is not without its fault. We never really understand why the teacher came to be the target of police interest and harrassment. That said, this is a residual thought which mainly goes unnoticed throughout the film, as the humour and tension of the unfolding story is so gripping.

Israel is hardly noted for its genre output, but the filmmakers have managed to open things up, thanks to their second feature and 2010′s Rabies, both of which pushed boundaries and announced major new talent on the horror scene.

Vicki has awarded Big Bad Wolves four Torches of Truth

four torches

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