Big Bad Wolves

(Israel, 2013, 110 mins, DCP)
CAST Lior Ashkenazi, Tzachi Grad, Rotem Keinan, Dov Glickman, Menashe Noy
PRODS Chilik Michaeli, Avraham Pirchi, Tami Leon, Moshe Edery, Leon Edery
SCR Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
CAM Giora Bejach
ED Asaf Korman
PROD DES Arad Shawat
MUS Frank Hayim Ilfman
PROD CO United Channels Movies / United King Films


Is there anything more awful than a child murder? Perhaps only the lengths those left behind will go to take their pound of flesh…

When a little girl’s body is found violated and mutilated, Miki (Lior Ashkenazi, VIFF11’s Footnote)—a disgraced cop—and Gidi (Tzahi Grad)—the victim’s bloodthirsty father—forge an alliance that’s as uneasy as it is unholy. Guided by Gidi’s philosophy that maniacs only fear other maniacs, they truss up their nebbish suspect (Rotem Keinan) in a basement and engage in interrogation techniques that would’ve given the Bush administration pause. And while Gidi grows increasingly barbaric, Miki can’t help but wonder whether they have the right man.

Having won acclaim with 2010’s Rabies—Israel’s first foray into horror filmmaking—Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado draw from a half-dozen genres for this devilish follow-up. The directors’ impeccable craftsmanship does little to conceal their shared nasty streak or the perverse delight they take in putting viewers through the moral wringer.

“Featuring mind-bending plot twists and generous doses of mordant humor, this fiendishly clever Israeli thriller succeeds brilliantly on its own terms while instantly qualifying for a Hollywood remake… The filmmakers slowly but surely ratchet up the tension in brilliantly subtle fashion, delivering both a haunting meditation on the morality and efficacy of torture… and enough violent shocks to please genre fans.”—Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter