In the 80s The Howling was one of a pair of very well-received werewolf films about a TV news reporter discovering a colony of werewolves living among humans. The Howling also spawned a load of sequels and I cannot remember any of them except that at some point they had some sort of ridiculous marsupial werewolf. Now many years later another film appears with The Howling name in its title. You can probably guess that there is nothing connecting this to the original film at all apart from it being about werewolves.
We get a prologue of some heavy breathing POV following a pregnant red-haired woman around as she heads to her apartment. We see her get attacked and lying unconscious then the film cuts to the present.
A teenage boy Will Kidman (Landon Liboiron) is talking to someone holding the camera, warning them that they may have to be the one who kills him. He then starts telling his life story to the camera and go back to few days earlier. Will is a mediocre student who lives alone with his father, his mother apparenty dying years ago in the attack we saw at the start of the film. He is barely noticed among his peers but gets noticed by a bully called Roland (since when are bullies called Roland?) and by the girl he has fancied from afar Eliana (Lindsey Shaw). She invites him to party being held secretly in the school’s unused pool. There meets the pack of bad boys from his school who greet him with a skank who slips him ecstasy on her tongue. Eliana finds him and forces him to dance with her. While they dance Will gets disoriented and thinks he can see the shadowy shapes of werewolves.
Next day Will asks his friend Sachin (Jesse Rath) about werewolves and isn’t it so convenient that Sachin is an expert on the subject. He later gets confronted by Roland in the toilets who is upset that he went out with Eliana. Something stirs inside and he punches the bully, knocking him out cold. Will leaves him lying there but Roland gets up and chases after Will with a gun drawn. He follows him to the stairs where he gets attacked by a werewolf who pushes him to his death down the stairwell.
At lunch in the canteen Will has a taste for meat despite being a vegetarian. The cook serves him some hot dogs but Will ends up throwing up when he finds Roland’s ring in the hotdog planted by one of the wolf pack dressed as a cook. Will ends up in hospital where a docotor is dismissing his symptoms (finding rings in hot dogs is a symptom?) as being down to stress. Sachin comes to see Will in hospital (why?) Will wants to know about tests for being a werewolf so Sachin tells him that since only silver or fire can hurt them any other injury won’t and they heal fast from those. Will slashes a wrist open with a scalpel (that’s just left lying around?) There’s blood but sure enough Will watches the cut heal itself over in seconds.
Not long after discovering he is werewolf Will discovers than a pack of werewolves are after him to join them in their plan to attack the humans. This gives the film its main conflict with Will fighting his nature to assert his own identity and protect those he loves from the pack especially Eliana who he has gone from perving over to loving her.
This film comes doesn’t come anywhere near the original film but the plot is okay and some of the acting is competent. The writing just isn’t very good. I felt a bit puzzled about where the film is set since there seem s many strange names and it looked like it was pretending to be set in an American high school. Werewolf films are made or broken by their transformation scenes but this film just goes for a quick change from one form to other, mostly off camera but sometimes shown with a flash of CGI. This is a disappointing cop-out. The werewolf costumes are passable, nothing too special. I think this film is destined to follow the other sequels in this series into obscurity.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Blu-ray Review: The Howling – Reborn (blogcritics.org)
- Fiery New Clip from The Howling: Reborn (dreadcentral.com)