There are very few sane people who would argue that the Holocaust wasn’t the worst moment in modern European history. Whilst so many died, the impact on those who remained is almost impossible to quantify. Whilst many films have been made about the events surrounding the lowest period in human history, much less focus has been placed on the survivors. Especially those children raised in camps. Werewolf (Wilkolak) does precisely that.
After the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Poland is liberated, a temporary orphanage is established in the surrounding woods. When the adults leave, Hanka (Sonia Mietielica) has no choice but to assume responsibility for the other seven children. They gradually begin to remember or learn what it’s like to be human, but there’s very little food in the house. Their situation becomes perilous when they’re surrounded by bloodthirsty Alsatians which were freed by the camp guards.
Werewolf is an allegorical tale about the effects of cruelty on the human mind. Whilst the survivors try to re-establish a normal childhood, the threat to their lives brings back the terror they’ve endured. They either have to work together to escape or allow themselves to become victims once again. Adrian Panek transports the horror of the holocaust into the canine predators, creating a film which falls somewhere between survival thriller and wartime drama. Werewolf is thoughtfully understated and quietly powerful.
Werewolf is out in cinemas from 4 October.