Monday, April 30, 2012

Scream at the Screen in Anger with Night Wolf!: A Movie Review

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*here be spoilers.

Director: Jonathan Glendening.

Writers: Adam Phillips.

Cast: Gemma Atkinson, Tom Felton, Joshua Bowman and Isabella Calthorpe

Tagline: "A deadly secret is coming home."

It is always strange to see a pin-up model headlining a film. Gemma Atkinson's film career can be summed up in six titles. Moving over to the crew, Jonathan Glendening is familiar to this reviewer for his terrible outing titled S.N.U.B. (reviewed here). Glendening also directed Strippers vs. Werewolves. With this type of pedigree, one might think they are entering amateur hour at the theatre. They or you would be right to think this.

Night Wolf, previously titled 13 Hrs, is a werewolf film with many annoying characters. This is the same problem that plagued Glendening's S.N.U.B.. It is hard to enjoy a horror film when you just want all of the characters to fall off the face of the Earth. Most enter werewolf oblivion. However, they could have gotten there a whole lot faster.

Atkinson plays Emily, the flirt. Apparently, she is passed among friends on a whim. She is good on the shaft, but poor on the shotgun. Emily manages to blow her head off by mishandling it. Perhaps, this was too much wood for her character to handle. Equally incompetent: Steven (Joshua Bowman), Lucas and Charlie (Peter Gadiot) are all brothers with Sarah (Isabella Calthorpe) the lone sister. All of these characters act like idiots while vying for first to be killed by a roaming werewolf. The men cry like little children who have stubbed their toes, the protagonist (Sarah) offers her brother as sacrifice for a phone call to police, characters have sex with a bloodthirsty monster looming 15' off. The ridiculous behaviours continue and all of these poor decisions left his critic thinking: "this is a terrible movie," "pathetic" and "this is the worst movie ever!" Well, maybe S.N.U.B was worse.

The story has been mentioned and there is very little that can be added. A werewolf is looming about a United Kingdom country estate eating and maiming characters. Those maimed turn into horny werewolves. Those unmaimed are soon to become a nighttime snack. Meanwhile, a side story involving a police officer and trapper develops steadily only to come to a crashing halt. All of this madness is eventually sourced to a matriarch (oops, spoiler).

Night Wolf is not recommended for several reasons. The main detriment to the film are the characters. Few are given depth. Director Glendening has only slightly improved his directing techniques from previous films. Most of your time watching this movie will involve staring at a 10' x 10' square attic. Glendening has a poor sense of time and space; he is wasting both. A huge home with dozens of rooms is under utilized. The film seems long and events could have been brought to a confrontation within an hour. Night Wolf is stretched out to fill the 90 minutes prerequisite film time. All of these elements create for a poor time. Entertainment is often on the horizon, but rarely present.

This film is not recommended for any horror fans. Even those who like werewolf films might find this title contrived. Night Wolf is simply uncompelling due to the poor writing and uninspiring directing techniques. Skip this outing. Instead, spend your night under the full moon with any of the Ginger Snaps or Howling films. Night Wolf just does not have enough bite to fill your night with terror.

Overall: 5.5 out of 10 (writing is adequate, elements of tragedy, directing techniques seem steady but not fully utilized, acting is average).

*rated R for horror violence and some gore, language and drug use.

**release April 24th by Lionsgate.

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