Werewolves and vampires are popular these days (as witnessed by this blog and my book, Drasmyr). “Werewolf: The Beast Among Us” is a made-for-DVD movie about a werewolf terrorizing a small 19th-century village. A couple friends and I rented this film for a kind of pre-Halloween werewolf flick-night. It stars Guy Wilson as the main character, a young surgeon-in-training named Daniel who also has a penchant for drawing and blacksmithing (he’s a talented young lad). It also stars Stephen Rea (they guy who played the detective in “V for Vendetta and also starred in the latest “Underworld” movie), although his is a minor role.
In the film, Daniel and his village are desperate to stop the predations of the hideous beast. They hire a group of werewolf hunters, who will hopefully solve their problem. Soon, however, they learn that this werewolf is unlike any other: It was born a werewolf, not transformed by a bite. So, it is stronger and smarter than the rest of its brethren and it has the potential to learn how to shape-shift at will. Danielle, of course, wants to join the hunters, but he is turned down initially. Eventually, though, the leader of the hunters, Charles, accepts his help and they assign a few small tasks to Danielle—mostly procuring bait and what-have-you. Then, the hunt begins. I’ll leave the rest of the plot a mystery, so you can enjoy it yourself.
Overall, the film was entertaining. It was better than a lot of werewolf movies I’ve seen (not that I’ve seen too many—it just seems way too easy to make a bad werewolf movie). The special effects were okay, though not exceptional. The plot was interesting, but some of the developments seemed forced. There were gypsies in the movie, and they were only there because it was a werewolf movie. They had the one vital clue, and that was about it. And their costumes pretty much blended with the rest of the town—very non-distinctive. There was a romantic element to the film, but one which left a very large unresolved problem by the time it wrapped up. The film also used a number of elements “lifted” from other werewolf movies I’ve seen. Most particularly, it took a few elements from the remake of “The Wolfman” that came out a couple years ago.
Overall I’ll give this film three stars out of five. If you want to see a really good werewolf movie, I’d recommend the aforementioned remake of “The Wolfman.” Still, this movie was worth seeing. Good for Halloween.
I was never a huge fan of the Howling film series when it came out—what was that, the 80’s maybe? There was one exception, though, I think it was “Howling Five,” set in a castle where a werewolf was systematically killing off a group of guests, or something like that. That was probably one of the more suspenseful and better werewolf movies I’ve ever seen. Anyway, on a kind of spur of the moment type thing, a friend and I sat down to watch the movie “The Howling, Reborn” the other night.
“The Howling, Reborn” tells the story of Will Kidman, a young teenager soon to graduate from High School. Suffering the usual bullies and whatnot from his school, Will earns particular ire for his interest in classmate Eliana Wynter. But things rapidly take a turn for the worse, and before he knows it, he is on his way to becoming a werewolf and he and Eliana are pitted against a growing army of such creatures intent upon wreaking horrible destruction upon humanity. And only the two love-struck high-schoolers can stop them.
Overall, I thought the storyline was decent. It held me interested for most of the movie. It wasn’t exceptional, by any means, but original enough with a few clever surprises here and there to make it worthwhile. The special effects, however, were pretty lame. The werewolves looked like 80’s Halloween costumes. A far cry from say the more recent “The Wolfman” movie where the transformations were chillingly realistic.
Anyway, if you can put with the cheesy special effects and you are into werewolves, you might enjoy the movie. I’ll give it three out of five stars.
I watched the 2010 remake of “The Wolfman” the other night (we own it on DVD). I saw the original 1941 film on TV several months ago—it was terrible and cheesy, and generally awful. The remake of the movie, however, is much better. I’m glad they threw out the original story-line and wrote a whole new one (I like it when remakes do that—I don’t see much point in watching the same movie with different actors).
The movie is set in Blackmoor England in 1891. It tells the story of Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro), an up and coming actor, who returns home to his estranged father’s (Anthony Hopkins) estate on the moor when his brother is mauled and killed by a mysterious beast. At the request of his brother’s fiancée (Emily blunt), Lawrence Talbot begins investigating the death. But at the next full moon, the werewolf strikes again, killing several people and biting Lawrence. Now, the nature of the murders has caught the attention of Scotland Yard and a suspicious investigator (Hugo Weaving) is sent in.
Anyway, they got quite a bit of this movie spot on. The lighting was perfect; it was creepy and gloomy and just suggestive of the surreal darkness of Blackmoor, England. The settings, too, were exceptional. The old mansion; the simple village; the barbaric and primitive sanitarium. Even the special effects were superb. Of course, with computers nowadays they can do just about anything. The test, I think, is, whether or not they overdo it. Although there was a bit too much gore, perhaps, I thought the special effects were well done and quite fitting. The transformation of the werewolf was entertaining and realistic (as realistic as a transformation can be) to watch.
I was disappointed, however, with the battle between the two werewolves at the end. With all the care that they obviously put into this movie—the gloom, the setting, the special effects—I was annoyed with the cheesiness of the final showdown. It was too Hollywood and could have been done much better.
Still, overall, I thought it was an exceptional movie. At least, it was good enough to buy. I’ll give it four out of five stars.