Wilczyca (1983)

Wilczyca (1983)

Wilczyca (1983)

Wilcza. Wizyaka. Wi-Wi-Wiz Khalifa.

Wilczyca is a hard movie to pronounce (if you aren’t Polish) and will be further referred to by She-Wolf, its English title. It’s an even harder movie to be interested in.

The film follows a man named Casper as he comes home to see his dying wife whose parting words to him are “You used to call me a bitch so I will die like one”. Clearly there were some issues.

After his wife passes, Casper, who has been away for some time, is told that his late wife had been getting into black magic and that if a stake is not driven through the corpse’s heart, she will rise up and wreak havoc on his life.

Casper reluctantly agrees and goes to a castle where we are introduced to a number of characters, all of whom will become perfunctory with the exception of Countess Julia, who will become important for vaguely biblical reasons.

Wilczyca (1983)

See, a wolf has stalked Casper ever since his wife passed and he is haunted by visions of a zombified version of his wife. Countess Julia’s favorite hobby is breeding wolves. Coincidence? (Hint: No).

The movie spends so much time setting up Julia as the main antagonist, the mechanics of which I’ll keep unspoiled in case you are actually interested in watching this movie, that it never bothers to explain how Capser’s wife came to use Julia as a method of torturing her husband, or ever really explains why Casper is hanging out with all of these royal people. Making it even harder to follow the action of the film are all the static shots of people traveling places. Editing is a very particular art that very few people can successfully pull off. To edit a movie is to create a seamless tapestry of action that never slows down long enough for the audience to lose interest. By feeling compelled to show every step a character takes to get from one place of another, to show an uninterrupted 45 seconds of a man riding a horse towards the screen just to cut to another shot of that same man riding that same horse to presumably the same place just kills any kind of momentum that She-Wolf could have built up.

Wilczyca (1983)

Compare this to something that is crazy with shots of people traveling on horseback like Django Unchained: Tarantino uses the sequence of his characters in transit to establish mood and show off the varied surroundings that the characters occupy. There, traveling has a thematic purpose. In She-Wolf, traveling is just used to prove that the characters in fact did not teleport from one location to the other.

She-Wolf has practically no zombies, basically no werewolves, very little magic, all of the stock footage of travel by horse and buggy, and runs for 100 minutes. None of these things are positives.

There are people that supposedly consider this movie a staple of Polish horror cinema, which is a claim that has me quoting my single favorite line from the movie: “Err….wait?”

Watch ‘Wilczyca’ / ‘She-Wolf’:

Written by: JJ Perkins

  • Adam Kwiecień

    Hi, I’ve just read this peculiar “review” and – being a die-hard fan of “Wilczyca – I will respond: Mr. Perkins apparently must have watched some badly translated copy of the movie, if he – as he writes – has no idea “how Maryna became Julia” or why Kacper is hanging out with “royal people”. Things like that are easily explained in the movie, but I reckon Mr. Perkins would have to understand Polish or at least a decent English translation of it, to get all these things caught.
    The other peculiar part of the “review” is that Mr. Perkins criticizes supposedly too long shots of horse-riding (btw, it doesn’t take 45 seconds, but 12 seconds) or “every step a character takes to get from one place of another” – yet, he himself is doing exactly the same thing in his “review”. Horse-riding scene takes 12 seconds, which makes around 0,2% of the whole movie, while Mr. Perkins dedicates full 5 lines of his “review” to indicate that – and that is around 15% of the whole “review”! WOW! This is what we call dropping a bomb against a fly.
    Let’s go further down: it’s not true that there are no zombies in the movie. Mr. Perkins contradicts himself, because in the same “review” he shows a perfect close-up picture of the zombie (the picture above YT link). I would only agree to say that zombies are not showing up in every second scene of the movie – but actually this is in favour of it, because having zombies hiding behind every single corner of the palace rooms or behind all them trees in the park would be simply unbearable (meaning: comical) thing to watch. Good director needs to know when to say “Enough!” and director of the film (Mr Piestrak) knows it very well. The sense of secrecy should be high in a good horror film. If everything would be evidently shown up on a tray like in porn movies, it wouldn’t be simply intriguing anymore. The viewer must wonder “what will be next?” or “what happened there?” to keep some interest in it. Direct answers would limit viewers imagination, viewers would then simply become passive receptors of the director’s vision being forced down the viewers’ throats – while in “Wilczyca” we have some moments of never solved riddles and sense of suspense, thanks to which viewer can build up his own version of the story – and that works very well to me.
    Finally, Mr. Perkins made a some technical mistakes in his “review”, which I will hereby correct:
    1) Not “castle”, but palace – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9Amie%C5%82%C3%B3w
    2) Countess Julia’s favorite hobby is feeding wolves with raw meat – not “breeding” them. Also, being a bi-sexual, she had some other hobbies too.
    3) There’s very little werewolves in the movie on the purpose. Film is not literally about an animal, but about a woman (or women – in broader sense); woman who is mentally (and sexually) haunting a man who desires her, but can’t have her. This is more about psycholigical war between man and woman and dressing all this idea in a form of animal (wolf) has purely symbolic meaning, “she-wolf” means “evil woman” in this case. Taking “Wilczyca” literally as a film about animal is to show inability to catch the movie’s psychological message. I’d even risk a hypothesis, that “Wilczyca” is not a horror in first place, but rather a psychological drama (although director told me that film was promoted as “horror” indeed, but that’s because most people are too stupid too read between the lines, so they probably wouldn’t buy the tickets, if there was nothing about “horror” on posters).