I saw this on TV when I was a youngster. I remember being disappointed because I expected transformations and other werewolf movie tropes, but a couple of the scenes lingered in my memory. Anyway, I found a DVD copy on a local market stall, hummed and arr-ed to myself then brought it.
The Wolfen is much better than I remembered. It's got a great cast. Albert Finney, Diane Venora, Gregory Hines and Tom Noonan all deliver. The camera work is stunning and very obviously an influence on Predator, though Wolfen vision is far more interesting.. In fact it looks almost computerised in its high defintion clarity. There's not much gore, but what there is, is top notch.
The story is in a similar vain to the Last Wave and Nightwing, The wolfen are a sort of semi supernatural native American mythic creature that picks off the homeless and property developers. But it's not as high falutin as the Last Wave or as hokey as Nightwing. There's an interesting subtext about the 'regeneration' or rather gentrification of New York in the Reagan Years, with its alluring grime and redbrick soul being reduced to literal rubble by the rise of the new financial elite.
Michael Wadleigh, of Woodstock fame, directs his one fictional film with real flair. It's a pity he didn't direct more thrillers before going back to documentary work. James Horner did the music and if you close your eyes you could be watching Aliens. The first kill is stunning and the ending is great too. This is a film with very high production values and an interesting story. In all honesty, The Wolfen is genuinely well made and not just an above average horror movie. Well worth seeking out.