Directing tandem Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado deliver a brilliantly haunting tale of revenge in Big Bad Wolves, a film that weaves its torturous tale with the darkest of comedy. In Big Bad Wolves a series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course of revenge: The father of the latest victim who will stop at nothing to get answers, a police detective seeking revenge outside the boundaries of the law, and the main suspect in the killings—a religious studies teacher who was arrested but ultimately released due to a misstep by the police. It’s the kind of tale we’ve all seen a dozen times, yet it manages to find a new way to tell the story while hiding its shocking finish until the very end.
It all starts with a gorgeously shot dreamlike sequence that sets this entire fairytale nightmare in motion as we see three kids playing a game of hide and seek. One of the kids, a young girl, hides in a cabinet, but before she can be found an unseen killer snatches her up leaving nothing behind but a bright red shoe. It’s a hauntingly beautiful scene that ends with a powerful image—and it’s just the beginning of what’s to come.
From there the film winds its way down a dark path that will ultimately lead to three men looking for the same answers. While the film is deeply rooted in the darkest of situations, directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado inject pitch black comedy into it without skipping a single beat. This speaks to just how well the film was written and executed because getting the audience to laugh while it deals with a man who kidnaps and murders little girls is a thing of brilliance, and certainly no easy task.
A film like this is only as strong as its characters because you’re forced to pick sides early on. Did the suspected killer really do what these guys believe he did? Or are they just torturing an innocent man? These are the kind of questions you’ll find yourself asking from the moment the film starts, and it will leave you guessing until its final, brutal finish. Each of the characters are brought to life by strong performances, and it’s what really takes this film to another level. The father of the latest victim who will not listen to reason is the perfect balance to the cop character because he, like us, finds himself dealing with the ultimate question that this film asks—did this guy really do it? But once the torture begins, all bets are off.
And this is where Big Bad Wolves turns up the dial. Like any good torture film, there are plenty of scenes that will leave you peeking through your fingers as our suspect endures some levels of pain that no guilty man could possibly endure. Or could he? And that right there is how this film toys with your emotions because if this man is guilty, wouldn’t he confess to his sins once the pain has started? It’s a question that can only be answered if your brave enough to reach its finale.
Big Bad Wolves is everything they said it would be—it’s a gripping tale that is just as clever as it is horrific and will no doubt leave an impression on even the most seasoned of horror fans. It’s a truly powerful gut-punch of a film that saves its darkest joke for last, leaving you guessing up until its final, horrifying frame.