Hour of the Wolf

Hour of the Wolf ★★★½

my first Bergman experience, one that i went in to completely blind, and one that i will most certainly need to revisit. Hour of the Wolf is nothing like your traditional horror, which is not a turn-off or negative aspect in any way. yes, it is haunting, eerie, and densely atmospheric, but it goes much deeper than that. Bergman dips into a surrealistic nightmare bucket of a man with a troubled subconscious, and uses this to dabble between what is real and what is not. throw in a dash of crippling last regret, and you have yourself an undeniable tale of dread. Liv Ullmann’s interview-esque narrative at the first and last moments of the film really set the tone, and i love all of her dialogue and what her character has to offer beside Max von Sydow. and to be honest, these were my two favorite scenes. furthermore, we are given this overwhelming dinner table segment where conversations overlap and intertwine, all while we feel this almost overbearing dread our main characters are being force-fed. this and some of Max von Sydow’s monologues create an objective experience - very specific to those who may or may not be able to relate, which i view as equally good and bad in this setting.

Hour of the Wolf is patient with how it unfolds - it slow-stirs this isolated moment in time and emphasizes just how long time itself is. because of this, some moments can feel a little bland and dragged-out, putting itself in a position where the viewer may be a bit too expectant. in the end, the buildup is rewarding, but not as much as i had wanted it to be. however, i can definitely say i thoroughly enjoyed the filmmaking and being able to experience such a highly respected director’s work for the first time. though i will need to come back to this after i flip through more of Bergman’s filmography, i am pleased enough to say that this is one of the most unique entries into the horror genre that i have seen.

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