27 June 2013 | BA_Harrison
It was the wolf what done it.
Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt is based on the true story of Manuel Blanco Romasanta, Spain's first documented serial killer, who claimed at his trial that he was not responsible for the numerous murders he committed since he was suffering from a curse that turned him into a wolf (always worth a go, I suppose).
The film takes place in 1851, in a rural Spanish community where there has been a spate of deadly attacks, presumably by wolves. Travelling salesman Manuel Romasanta (played by the very English Julian Sands, who makes zero attempt at an accent) arrives in the area to visit his girlfriend Maru Valdivielso, who shares her home with her rather lovely sister Bárbara (Elsa Pataky) and their young deaf niece Teresa (Luna McGill).
Seemingly concerned for their safety, Manuel offers to escort Maria and Teresa to Santander, but the girls never make it to their destination, their charming travelling companion attacking them in the forest, believing himself to be a lycanthrope—a man who can transform into a wolf. When Manuel returns to Bárbara, he seduces the unsuspecting woman, but is unable to hide the truth for very long
With its mid-19th century European setting, ambiguous werewolf plot, and stunning visuals, Romasanta reminded me a lot of Christophe Gans' The Brotherhood of the Wolf; but like that film, Romasanta suffers from a plodding and slightly confusing narrative, one that makes matters hard going, even despite a few genuinely twisted moments involving sticks in eyes and the removal of body fat, a fairly decent transformation scene, and the sight of Pataky in a tin bath having her breasts soaped up by Sands.