Non è un lupo (2022)

Rating; C+

Dir: Nicolò Tagliabue
Star: Thomas Francesconi, Susanna Valtucci, Nikolas Lucchini, Paolo Salvadeo

The title translates to “It’s not a wolf,” and the movie is one hundred percent correct in this statement. What it is… well, we’ll get to that. It begins with Glauco (Francesconi) returning home after three years behind bars. He resumes a fractious relationship with a neighbour, who accuses Glauco of slaughtering her chickens. Yet on the bright side, he also hooks up with local girl Laura (Valtucci), who is intrigued by his bad boy reputation. After an argument with her about the respective merits of wolves and cougars, Glauco steps outside, and comes face to face with the real culprit behind the death of his neighbour’s poultry. The title of the film kicks in. Because it’s not a wolf.

In fact, welcome to the velociraptor apocalypse. It’s just like the zombie apocalypse, only – you have likely figured this out – with velociraptors [I was worried about this being a spoiler, until I saw the DVD sleeve…]. Though the film’s budget extends only to one, and it is obviously a man in a costume. That said, Tagliabue shoots around the obvious limitations quite well, and squeezes as much as he can out of the one (1) creature. Glauco and Laura are soon scurrying for their lives through the otherwise deserted streets of the town. They encounter another survivor, David (Lucchini), who is out foraging for supplies – specifically cigarettes. He offers to take them back to the safe haven which has been operating under the leadership of Max (Salvadeo). There, he says, they even have PS4.

Clearly, Glauco and Laura have never seen a single episode of The Walking Dead. Or they would know that, in any apocalypse, such communities are always trouble with a capital T. Terminus. Woodbury. The Saviors. Never ends well. And so it proves here, to no-one’s surprise – except Glauco and Laura. As in TWD, the original threat of the apocalypse becomes almost secondary, with other survivors becoming a more significant threat. Interestingly, the end credits suggest a comic-book origin for this; feels like either another parallel with, or a nod to, TWD. Indeed, our original duo are forgotten almost as much as the raptorpocalypse, until the very sudden ending. We get an unexpected Terminator 2 reference, and the credits roll, without anything much being resolved.

It’s kinda all over the place. Fragments work unexpectedly well, such as a long shot of Glauco simply watching a killer shark movie. It may tell the viewer more about his character than anything he says in the entire movie. The photography is also impressive on occasion, with some interesting visual choices. Yet it feels at times like there are massive chunks missing from the narrative, as if this was a 13-part TV series, edited down to feature length. Some of the obvious absences are plausible: the complete lack of explanation for the raptorpocalypse is clearly intended, and likely a sly jab at the post-apocalyptic genre in general. Yet other gaps render the story almost incoherent. Still, likely a better dinosaur story than Jurassic World: Dominion though.

It’s Not a Wolf was released on Blu-Ray and through Amazon Prime on February 28th.