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RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
• “Composing a Monster” Documentary
• “Spit You Out” Music Video
In a bowl, mix a half pound of low-budget effects and a cast of amateurs with a pinch of stale, painfully unfunny comedy. Slowly stir in some of the most terrible sound editing and music in film history. Half bake.
Michael Dionne, Christy Cianci, Tamara Malawitz, Philip Gauvin, Adam Lowenbaum
Other suggestions: “The following presentation is a movie.”
Also: “Prepare to waste two hours.”
In a remote village in Germany, a group of werewolf hunters capture their elusive prey in a bloody, poorly edited battle. They crate their sedated quarry and ship it overseas, but since they’re not as good at logistics as they are at werewolf hunting, the monster ends up at a special effects company in Jersey.
Enter Kevin Madden. He’s a young, hip, fast-actin’ like Tinactin pyrotechnics expert with a loving wife and supportive family. He’s the heir apparent to his father’s special effects company, so his future is bright with promise. Unfortunately, he’s about to have a scrape with “werewolf-in-a-crate”, who, in human form, is a young German seductress. While this she-wolf terrorizes the city, Kevin’s slow transformation alienates him from his wife and family. As the werewolf hunters converge to recapture their prey, Kevin embraces his new powers. Will he succumb to feral rage, or will he help protect his family from his murderous lycanthropic mistress?
Also, there are space aliens and fighting robots. That’s not a good thing.
Since Harold had a problem distinguishing between urinals and toilets, he
had a habit of labeling the stalls by orifice.
There’s an ongoing thread in the message boards called Are we deluding ourselves? where we address the elephant in the room for modern horror fans: Why do awful horror films often get a pass, or, even worse, receive undue adulation? Does a creative decapitation cover for bad acting? Should innovative creature design absolve lazy filmmaking? I’ll theorize that horror fans are overprotective of their genre. We’re much like the parents of retarded children- we get overexcited when our genre does even the littlest thing right. In many ways, we’ve been trained to react this way, as the vast preponderance of all horror films are garbage. The glut of bad films might make some of us appreciate a terrible film like Hatchet because it has some creative effects, and this “appreciation” causes what I’m coining the Ana Clavell Negative Feedback Effect:
As most intelligent design proponents don’t know, any good theory needs to be predictive. Since my theory predicts the existence of films like Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound, I’m both awesome and correct.
There’s absolutely no reason for Werewolf to exist, save for the fact that its producers knew that some horror fans are ravenous and forgiving enough to purchase even the most poorly made trash. It’s an awkward and amateurish attempt at a horror comedy, and it fails miserably as either a horror film or a comedy. Examining why Werewolf fails is almost a pointless exercise, as it gets virtually nothing right in its 90 minutes, but I’ll try.
From its opening scene (shown below), we witness a team of German werewolf hunters as they “lock and load” for the big hunt. As the camera zooms in on the rifle cabinet, the sound of a jet engine SWZHOOOOSH-ing lets the audience know that they’re in for one hell of a wild, Tarantino-esque ride! I remember when Mr. Show parodied the “SWZHOOOOSH” zoom. This was almost ten years ago. Unfortunately, Werewolf isn’t even smart enough to ape old Mr. Show episodes; I suspect that it’s just trying to be cool in the lamest possible way.
When hunting werewolves, avoid wearing luminescent goggles. You should also
avoid wearing Haggar slacks, but that’s good advice for any occasion.
After the hunters capture the beast and ship it off, we bounce over to the States, where we meet up with Kevin Madden and family. About our performers: I’m sure they were just trying to have fun with this, as they’re all clearly amateurs, but none of them are good enough to sustain a 90-minute film. It’s all excruciatingly bad home movie stuff. While Michael Dionne (Kevin Madden) seems like the most comfortable of the bunch, his stilted line delivery and laughable physical presence cripple the film from beginning to end. I can’t be fearful or sympathetic towards someone who looks like a skinny doofus wearing fake plastic werewolf teeth.
After Kevin becomes infected by the she-wolf, the film switches gears abruptly and attempts to become a dark, gritty human transformation drama. Directors Gregory C. Parker and Christian Pinder rely on camera tricks like rapid in-and-out-of-focus shifting, colored filters, and strobe effects to convey Madden’s descent into a feral state. This middle act feels like a completely different and even worse film than Werewolf, as it doesn’t even have the good sense to shoehorn in the terrible comedy elements that infest the rest of the film. The only thing worse than a fool is a fool who takes himself seriously. Near the end of the act, Madden experiences his first transformation into a werewolf at a crowded dance club. It’s easily the most terrible scene in the film, as the blinking strobe effect almost gave me a seizure. This film might actually be physically bad for you.
Strangely, the final act is a zany romp led by a thickly accented, accident-prone werewolf hunter who joins the Madden family in their quest to save Kevin and kill the she-wolf. It’s just as difficult to watch, but it doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as the rest of the film.
What. I’m on my period.
While it has no intrinsic value, I optimistically believe that Werewolf can be a catalyst for good. Let it be the line in the sand for horror fans. End the cycle of trash. Don’t rent, queue up, or purchase horror films until you read a review. Raise your standards, and let someone else take the punishment for you.
Werewolf‘s audio makes the film nearly unwatchable. The score is an assault on the senses. It’s a brainless wash of synthesizer stuff and throbbing ’90’s techno that might have worked on dumb college kids a decade ago. Oddly enough, there’s a special feature called “Composing a Monster” where composer Christian Devein fellates himself over the great job he did on Lycan (which I have to assume was the working title of Werewolf. When you look to the awful and derivative Underworld for inspiration, you’re in some pretty deep shit to begin with).
The video quality is what you’d expect from a low budget DVD release. There’s a 3/2.1 audio mix, but it doesn’t help, as the sound editing and score are so terrible.
Other special features include a trailer and a music video.