I decided to watch Ingmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf because it has been called Bergman's only horror movie. But after watching it, I'm not sure entirely sure any of that is accurate. I don't think it can really be called a horror movie, and I don't think it's any more surreal or dreamlike than many of Bergman's films. I'd wager his most famous film, The Seventh Seal is, if not scary (neither movie is scary), at least as equally creepy as Hour of the Wolf.
But I will also admit I'm not that well versed in Bergman. Of all the auteurs I studied in film school, I found Bergman's movies to be...the least engaging, let me just put it that way. And that's a failure on my part, I'm sure. I was just more easily taken with the liveliness of a director like Fellini than the slow dreamlike dramas of Bergman.
And speaking of Fellini, Hour of the Wolf brought him to mind more than once, as there are a series of parties the tormented artist (Max Von Sydow) and his wife (Liv Ullmann) attend in the film that are filled with guests straight out of a Fellini movie. And it's the surreal moments with those guests, like the one pictured above, that are the film's highlight. It may not be peak Bergman, but at only 90 minutes long, Hour of the Wolf is...easily digestible Bergman.
Hour of the Wolf is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel.