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Review: The Howling – Reborn

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.

Rating 6/10

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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: American Werewolf in London

Another 80s favourite again. This comedy horror from John Landis is really well-balanced between its dark humour and outright horror. The soundtrack is well-used as a running joke opening with one version of Blue Moon by Sam Cooke and finishing with the inappropriately upbeat cover version by the Marcels. I’m sure they had the Bobby Vinton one played at some point as well.

American students David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are on a hiking holiday through Yorkshire and they stop for a rest at a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb. The locals all pause awkwardly when they come in but go right back to their fun. The barmaid tells them there’s no food and no soup but they can get tea if they want something hot. Jack notices a pentacle drawn crudely on the wall in what looks like blood and makes a joke saying “Remember the Alamo,” which leads to everyone talking about the film about the Alamo and Brian Glover making a dodgy joke.

When Jack keeps pushing on the subject of the pentacle the mood changes and they are told they are no longer welcome. The barmaid tries to apeal for them to stay but they leave with the advice that they keep to the roads and beware the moon. As they walk the don’t even notice they’ve left the road behind. They hear sound of a large dog howling and something is tracking them on the moor and they see the full moon. They break into a run and David slips and falls. As Jack reaches out to help him up he is attacked and torn to pieces by a huge furry beast. David gets up and runs quite a way before he decides to go back and help Jack. When he gets there he’s attacked by the beast but suddenly there’s crowd of villagers taking it down in hail of bullets. Just before David passes out he turns to see the creature but instead he sees a dead naked guy covered in bullet holes.

When David wakes in hospital it’s three weeks later. He learns from Dr Hirsch (John Woodvine) that the official version of events is that they were attacked by an escaped lunatic but David insists it was a wild animal. Dr Hirsch in not happy with all the inconsistencies and starts doing his own investigating

David  finds his dreams are getting more vivid and they start innocent enough, start getting more disturbing until AAAARGHGHH. David also starts getting visits from the undead spirit of Jack who warns him that he will become a werewolf and kill people at the next full moon if he doesn’t kill himself first. David rationalises it as just another nightmare.

David’s nurse Alex Price (Jenny Agutter) grows fond of David and feels a bit sorry for him so she takes him home to her flat. Soon she’s taking care of him naked in the shower to tune of Van Morrison‘s Moon Dance. That night when David wakes up to go to toilet Jack appears to him again to try persuade him to kill himself.

The next day Alex has to go to work and she leaves David alone in her flat. A montage scene to the tune of Bad Moon Rising show us David having a boring day. Then the Moon comes out and we get a long painful transformation scene where muscles stretch and bones crack in excruciating detail.

The werewolf slaughters a young couple on their way to a dinner party, a trio of tramps sitting drinking by a fire and a businessman on the London Underground. We only get glimpses of the creature but one of the creepiest is the attack in the Undergound where you see it coming into view for just a second as it comes for the man lying on the escalator.

David wakes next morning naked in the wolf enclosure at the zoo. I got a few laughs as David steals a kid’s balloons to help him cover his naughty bits before he steals woman’s coat and makes his way back to Alex’s flat by bus. Dr Hirsch insists Alex brings David into the hospital but on the way there David finds about the murders from the taxi driver. He freaks and runs away, trying to get a policeman to arrest him. Then he sees Jack beckoning him into a sleazy porn cinema where he introduces him to all his victims, now undead spirits just like Jack. They insist David must die so that they can rest, giving him all sorts of helpful suggestions on the best way to do it, but it is getting late and the moon is rising outside.

This film still works for me because the story keeps it simple and lets us get to know the characters. David is really nice normal guy that’s makes what’s happening to him is terrible and tragic  The effects were cutting edge at the time and the transformation scene is still more convincing than more recent CGI transformation scenes. It’s a nice unique twist that the undead spirits of Jack and the other victims haunt David and these scenes are where most of dark humour comes from and Griffin Dunne is really funny as Jack the rotting corpse.

Rating 9/10

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Film Review: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

I’m going to start reviewing these films I watch since I watch so many. I’ll try and do a bit of research into the films too to try to put them in to a bit context

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

This is film made for the children’s cable TV channel Nickelodeon.

It is a family friendly affair with more than a few performances mugged-up for the sake of children’s comedy – just imagine the awkward uncle doing baby-talk for a toddler  and you have the level of the performances of the supporting cast.

Synopsis: A widowed father and his two children find out they have inherited a castle in Romania in a town full of terrible actors in a Disneyfied version Romania. The set-up let’s you know you can safely park your brain in idle for this ride as it hits cliché after cliché in an experience which comes as close to horror as a cheap ghost train ride.

While looking for castle’s modem the two children find a secret passage (groan) leading to a secret laboratory (groan). The dull bookish daughter gets infected after an accident in the lab with werewolf  blood and then the fun really starts as apparently she  becomes hotter and more confident (as seen in Teen Wolf and Cursed) at least that what the script says but I didn’t spot the difference.  Meanwhile bland Dad falls into the clutches of a perky real estate agent and of course there are evil vampires around too.

This may be fine for distracting very young children but it is very cheesy and everything is overdone. The humour is the breathless and unfunny kind. I really tried to give this film a chance but it is difficult when it comes to a film that plays it so safe and is so lazily written

Ratings
Comedy 4/10
Horror 2/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1451423/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Werewolf_(2010_film)

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheBoyWhoCriedWerewolf

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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