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Wolf movie poster

Wolf is a 1994 American horror film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Jim Harrison, Wesley Strick, and an uncredited Elaine May, with music by Ennio Morricone and cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno.

Plot

Will Randall is bitten by a wolf while driving home through Vermont after it was seemingly hit by his car. Soon after, he is demoted from editor-in-chief of a publishing house during a takeover by ruthless tycoon Raymond Alden, who replaces him with Will's ambitious protégé Stewart Swinton. Will begins experiencing physiological changes ranging from increased appetites and libido to hair regrowth and sharper-than-human sensory perceptions. Catching an unfamiliar scent on the clothing of his wife Charlotte, Will rushes over to Stewart's house, bites Stewart during a brief physical altercation, and rushes upstairs to the bedroom where he finds evidence of Charlotte's infidelity. Will leaves his wife, takes up residence at the Mayflower Hotel, and as the moon ripens, takes on increasingly bestial aggressive characteristics.

With the help of Alden's rebellious daughter Laura, Will tries to adapt to his new existence. His first nocturnal escapade as a werewolf takes place at Laura's guesthouse on the Alden estate where he partially transforms and hunts down a deer by moonlight. In the morning, Will finds himself on the bank of a stream, with blood all over his face and hands, and, fearing notice, hurriedly departs in his Volvo.

He visits Indian paranormal scholar Vijav Alezais, who gives him a silver amulet believed to be proof against lycanthropy. Alezais, who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, asks Will to bite him, preferring "damnation" to death. Will refuses, but keeps the amulet in the hopes that it will cure or forestall his condition. Returning to his hotel, Will calls Laura to explain his nocturnal disappearance and asks to see her again. Later that evening, Will, again a wolfman, breaks into the zoo, escaping two police officers and taking their handcuffs. Muggers attempt to steal his valuables, but he springs upon his assailants, wounding them savagely. He wakes up in his hotel, with no memory of the night's events.

Threatening to lead a mass writers' exodus, Will successfully wrests his editor-in-chief position back from Alden, and negotiates for additional supervisory powers. Will surprises Stewart in the bathroom, notifies him of these office developments, fires him, and then urinates on Stewart's suede shoes so as to "mark his territory." While washing his hands, Will finds two of the muggers' severed fingers in his jacket pocket, and realizes the beast is gaining control. Horrified by this realization, Will returns to his hotel, where Charlotte stops him in the lobby to beg his forgiveness. Will rebukes his now-estranged wife and tells her to stay away. Laura surreptitiously witnesses this argument. After Will's recent outing, Laura makes her way upstairs to Will's room where the two begin a sexual relationship.

Detective Bridger visits Will's hotel room the next day to inform him of Charlotte's savage murder. Separately, Will and Laura both begin to harbor doubts concerning Will's possible involvement in the crime. Cutaway scenes between Stewart, Alden, and the police gradually inform the viewer that Randall's former protégé is now trying to frame Will in an attempt to get his job back.

Disquieted by Will's superhuman hearing, dried mud on his shoes, and a phone call from Detective Bridger revealing that Charlotte's blood and tissue samples were contaminated by canine DNA, Laura comes to believe that Will is a murderous monster. Will voluntarily submits to being locked in the Alden horse-barn while Laura goes to the police station. There, she encounters an uncharacteristically feral Stewart, whose amber eyes and increasingly-bestial manner suggest that, having previously been bitten by Will, he has also begun the werewolf transformation. Laura fends off Stewart's sexual advances and hurries back to the Alden estate, now convinced of Will's innocence and intent on leaving the country with him.

Stewart follows Laura back to her father's estate, where he surprises and kills two security guards. A brief struggle in the barn ensues. Stewart tries to rape Laura, but Will intervenes, tearing off Alezais' amulet, escaping his stable cell, and giving into the full-moon transformation. Both werewolves are brutally injured in the fight. Will eventually gains the upper hand over his opponent. Stewart tries to backstab him with a set of hedge-clippers, but Laura picks up a dead guard's revolver and shoots him dead. Will, now quite lupine, shares a wordless moment with Laura before running into the forest.

Later that same evening, Laura is debriefed by police on the scene, and feigns horrified surprise. Alden reconciles with his daughter. Detective Bridger opines that Will was "too tame" to make a good match for Laura, and is unnerved when Laura invites him in for a vodka tonic and notes that he has already had one this evening, and that she "can smell it a mile away." The final scene is a close-up of Laura's face who is now amber-eyed. It then transitions into Will howling at the moon as he completes his final metamorphosis into a full werewolf and then back to Laura where the screen fades out to her glowing no-longer-human gaze.

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