January 24, 2014

VOD Review: Big Bad Wolves (2014)

The Fundance 2014 premiere of Big Bad Wolves was held at the historic "VOD In Our Living Room Theater" and boy, what a turnout! *Us. The turnout was basically us.

It's not going to be easy to discuss Big Bad Wolves lest we delve into spoiler territory, so we're going to go short form on this one.

The Israeli Horror scene isn't very prolific in the film world. In fact, as far as we're aware, there have only been two Horror Movies that are Israeli made; the worthwhile Rabies (2012), and now, Big Bad Wolves.

Since both movies are written and directed by Aahron Keshales and Navot Papushudo, we can assume that at this time, the entire Israeli Horror Scene is basically made up of Aahron Keshales and Navot Papushudo.

More Israeli Horror films are surely coming, but for now, they seem to have that that particular market on lock.

We can understand why filmmakers from Israel may not be all that keen on making Horror movies; the country and its people deal with death and violence on a daily basis, and have done so for decades. That kinda makes the idea of Israeli-made genre films a silly one, because on screen horrors simply pale in comparison, and they may even seem disingenuous in some ways.

I just can't imagine audiences lining up to see these kinds of movies in Israel. I could be wrong, but there it is.

Rabies and Big Bad Wolves put an odd and fun bent on the "traditional" Horror archetype though, and thus, they've both felt pretty fresh and exciting. So maybe Israeli Horror can buck the norm and grow to be a thing, right?

Big Bad Wolves opens with a group of kids playing hide-and-seek in slow motion, which means that at least one of them is going to end up missing or dead. You know that, right? Especially in this movie, where a series of grisly child murders has plagued the local community, in which the victims are all found headless... amongst other things.

Damn, dude.
Miki (the Cop) is sure that the local Bible Studies Teacher, Dror (the potential Creeper) is responsible for the killings, so he hires some thugs to beat a confession out of him. When a video of the "interrogation" ends up on Jewish YouTube, Miki is quickly demoted, and taken off the case. Enter the father of the latest victim, Gidi, who is hell-bent on getting answers out of Dror, using any means necessary.

What follows is the lives of the three men intersecting, and a lot of torture. That's all we're saying about this one.

We'll also say that a Father's love sometimes involves a hammer.
This movie really does play like an odd sort of Fairytale which feels a lot like 2013's Prisoners in some ways, what with its missing kids and parents who are out for answers, and more importantly, vengeance. It's dark, sometimes creepy, and all kinds of violent and disturbing, but it's also funny. The funny bits don't detract from the Horror of it all though, rather they just add to the movie's likability.

Keshales and Papushudo are obvious huge genre fans. They cite Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, Breaking Bad and The Sopranos as being all you basically need to know about genre filmmaking, and while we'd add plenty of other names and titles to that list, they certainly have the right idea. With Big Bad Wolves, these two deliver a solid and often times great genre entry of their own, which manages to improve on their first feature film, Rabies.

The Cop, the Father, the suspect, the Grandfather... the cast of this movie did a great job with their roles, and it makes us want to look them up on IMBD and seek out their earlier works, Lior Ashkenazi and Tzahi Grad, especially. Everyone just felt so natural in this movie, and they all did a great job of balancing the comedy with the drama. The guy with the blowtorch was our fave though. We really liked him.

This guy right here.
We could have done without the "phone call during the torture" scene, and we would have liked to have seen a bit more of a "resolution" at the end, but those are fairly minor complaints.

Butternut froze in place, swearing not to get involved in the pending fracas between the Arab and the Jew. Not this time.
The very last shot in the movie. We absolutely loved it, and would really like to share a screen shot of it with you, because it was just so great, but it also frustrated the shit out of us. It's directly tied to another shot (two, even) in the movie which... we can't say any more about! Let's just say that the Police in this movie really suck. Great stuff, but the bumbling actions of the Police just gave us fits.

You don't demote the best Cop on The Force for being effective!
The movie is about murdered children and torture, so you know that you're going to get some pretty graphic scenes here. The torture scenes are obviously the worst of it, but there are some less gory scenes throughout the movie that are every bit as disturbing as the visceral ones are.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.
Nothing naked to be found here, which is a good thing, because there weren't really any women in this movie.

The scene in the park with the dog had us laughing so hard that we had to pause the movie. What a great touch.

Worst hiding place ever.
Don't fuck with old Jewish men, and especially their families, because they will absolutely pull your card. Also, someday we'll be able to look back and say that we were there for the birth of Israeli Horror Cinema, and that's a pretty awesome thing.

Big Bad Wolves is one of the most enjoyable movies that we've seen in a while. Sure, its subject matter is really nasty, and not very enjoyable, but the way that the filmmakers made such awful events play out was really great. It's not a perfect film, but it certainly isn't far from it. This movie will definitely be in our hands the day that it hits Blu-ray, as we'll be happy to revisit the story often.

Don't miss out on this dark and twisted gem, as it's destined to be one of 2014's best genre offerings.

Big Bad Wolves is available now on VOD.


No chicks in this one, so here are some extra photos from Big Bad Wolves instead, because, why not?


  1. Just watched this the other day, I completely agree with you. I too went straight to IMDB to look up every one of the actors. Highly enjoyed this one.

  2. I watched the movie last night and I had a great time. Really did not expect that such a claustrophobic and dark movie had me laughing in so many scenes. The actors are superb in their roles and I'd love to see more of them. Great review guys.

  3. If you haven't seen rabies yet, Jennifurla, give it a go. Lots of the same cast are involved. It's not AS good, but it's a fun watch.

    And Liquid, "I had a great time" is a perfect way to describe what most people will get from this movie.

    I'm glad this movie is getting so much love.

  4. Really great job; awesome how they kept us guessing if he was a sicko.

    Anyone else think that the potential sicko was unable to feel pain? I kept getting the impression he was pretending to be hurt for the benefit of hid torturers.

  5. The last shot was superb. The whole movie was a true thing of beauty. I didn't mind the phone calls because I believe this was perfect to cement the fact that dad and grandpa are humans in spite of their actions towards the potential sicko.

  6. I was thinking about watching Big Bad Wolves on Netflix in my downtime this week. I remember hearing about it when it came out and thought it sounded pretty interesting.

    From everything I've read it sounds reminiscent of Sushi Girl (A film I greatly enjoyed due in no small part to Mark Hamill being awesome in it).

    I was just curious if that was a comparison you'd agree with.

    1. Sushi Girl? It kind of feels like that mood-wise to a point, but BBW has far more black comedy in it that SG does. You could probably watch them both back-to-back and they'd feel similar, or at the very least, they wouldn't feel as if they didn't belong together. If that makes any sense.

      Both great movies though, although I daresay that Wolves is the far superior one. Could be a matter of opinion though, so, grain of salt.

      Btw, Mark Hamill was awesome in SG. He's a far better actor than most people gve him credit for.

    2. Agreed Hamill is awesome. So underrated as an actor. I mean he was Luke Freaking Skywalker why was he not a bigger star. Not to mention his run as The Joker is an absolute staple of history.

      I always try to recommend Sushi Girl when I can and look forward to watching this flick during my time off starting tomorrow.