Fantastic Fest Review: 'The Wolf House' (2018)

Updated on September 27, 2018
ChrisSawin profile image

Chris is a Houston Film Critics Society Member and a contributor at Bounding Into Comics, God Hates Geeks, and Slickster Magazine.

One of the posters for, "La Casa Lobo," or, "The Wolf House."
One of the posters for, "La Casa Lobo," or, "The Wolf House."

The Surreal Ghoulishness of Making a Pig of Yourself

The Wolf House or La Casa Lobo is one of the most unique stop-motion animated films you’ll ever come across. From Chilean filmmakers Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León, The Wolf House is a supposed retelling pulled from the German colony archives from the Chilean Government and revolves around a woman named Maria forced to spend 100 days and 100 nights in an isolated cabin in the woods with two pigs, one male and one female, while taking refuge from a wolf whose presence is always felt but is rarely seen. The film draws inspiration from Chile’s Colonia Dignidad; a torture camp ran by a nasty cult where children were sexually abused with a dash of slavery and a hint of Nazism being thrown in for good measure.

The animation in The Wolf House is what makes it so unique. Each frame of the film is painted and re-painted over and over again, sometimes in the same room, while each figure is shown being materialized from nothing. The entire film is constantly constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed over and over again and it’s a sight to behold. Each frame loads like an old Playstation video game with the lamp sitting on the table in the corner loading first while the curtains on the window and the paint on the wall load as you get closer to it. The film looks like a mix of stop-motion and traditional mediums like paint, charcoal, and paper mache. Items in the middle of the room will be assembled strand by strand while Maria or her two pigs Ana and Pedro often appear painted on the wall while also occupying the ceilings and floors; think Prismo from Adventure Time.

But given the film’s inspirations it seems pretty obvious that this won’t be a lighthearted tale. The Wolf House has this dark and unsettling atmosphere that continuously snowballs into even darker imagery that will likely haunt your nightmares. The film seems to make a permanent residence in the button-eyed Other World of Coraline. That sense of uneasiness where nothing feels right and danger lurks around every corner is amplified the longer you’re stuck in this house with these creatures who may or may not be going insane.

The storyline doesn’t make a ton of sense. Other than what it was inspired by, the purpose and motivation these characters have become clouded and unclear extremely early on. Maria enters this cabin with two pigs, but a silly game where she imagines them with human hands and feet suddenly turns them into a little boy named Pedro and a teenage girl named Ana for the rest of the film. Maria spends the film attempting to teach the pigs how to be human, a fire breaks out while they’re eating which scars Ana and Pedro, but they persevere by agreeing to be beautiful and handsome instead of ugly and misshapen. Once they run out of food, Ana and Pedro attempt to whet their unsatisfied appetites with the intention of eating Maria. Maria has been hearing the whispered voice of the wolf the entire film, which she has chosen to ignore up until this point. You never really figure out if the pigs actually evolve into human kids or if this is just how Maria sees them.

Fire complicates things for Maria, Pedro, and Ana in, "The Wolf House."
Fire complicates things for Maria, Pedro, and Ana in, "The Wolf House."

The Wolf House seems to aim to make its audience uncomfortable over its exhausting duration. The animated film is only 73-minutes long, but it is a chore to get through. Unfortunately, the film comes off as pointless otherwise offering little reasoning to its hellish imagery. The harsh animation of the film compliments what feels like a physical manifestation of madness felt during extreme isolation. Maybe it takes 100 days and 100 nights to completely lose our minds and this is Maria’s perspective of the before, during, and after completely plunging herself down the darkest rabbit hole imaginable. Taking five years to complete with sets built to human size and showcased in venues across the country during the film’s production, The Wolf House has an animation style that blurs the line between reality, our darkest fears, and absolute madness. It’s a shame it isn’t a more enjoyable expedition overall since it’s the type of film that is sure to stir up a lively conversation with others who have seen it and yet isn’t something you’d really want to recommend to others.

The wolf sees all in, "The Wolf House."
The wolf sees all in, "The Wolf House."
2 stars for The Wolf House (2018)

© 2018 Chris Sawin


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)