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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
Black Roses gets fucked in the ass by Twilight.
Agim Kaba, Michael Frascino, Heidi Johanningmeier, Ryan Ross
Directed by Alan Smith(ee)
“Torn between the girl he loves and the dark side of fame, a young musician is seduced by a touring rock band called “Neowolf” (pronounced Nay-O-Wolf) with a mysterious past and a hungry habit that comes with the full moon!”
Would someone mind explaining to me how it is that I have more ass/back hair than this werewolf?
Once upon a time the idea of a werewolf movie featuring European metal bands playing original tunes was enough to make me mess my pants. While Neowolf touts the same premise, the words “werewolf” and “metal” have slightly different meanings these days.
You could easily fill a review with cheap shots at this mess of a movie. The practical effects, the overseas cast pretending to be American and their strange accents, the ham-fisted line delivery and what passes for acting. Like I said though, those are cheap shots, and the last time I checked bad acting and shitty FX never necessarily killed a horror movie before. No, Neowolf’s epic fail boils down to two specific elements; the music and the monsters.
Neowolf seems to confuse the basic mythos of vampires and werewolves, as the villains are constantly referred to as werewolves (pronounced war-woof) yet exhibit all the characteristics of vampires. The band’s country of origin is Transylvania, they turn their victims by biting them on the neck, they dress and act like ass clowns and only come out at night. A nice chunk of the film’s running time involves one of the main characters hunting down Wolfsbane, although in the end it’s never used. Neowolf isn’t trying to be a straight up monster movie, so I could forgive some of the stuff if it made up for the deficiencies in other departments, but it doesn’t. You don’t have to be all things to all people, but at some point you have to at least manage to be something.
The music angle is what hurt me the most. If you’re going to do a movie about a band of werewolves and you’re going to fuck up the werewolf part, at least do something creative with the band. I’m not saying Neowolf the band had to be something cool like an Alt Country/Power Pop/Post-Punk outfit, but making them a throw back to late 90’s alternative shit metal is both boring and insufferable. Remember how awesome the soundtrack to Black Roses was? I actually own that motherfucker on vinyl. Not only is the music in Neowolf so unremarkable it’ll never be made to available for public consumption in any form, it’s distractingly bad in the context of the film. The 3-5 minute segments of the film where what little story telling there is stops and we’re treated to a musical number should be seen as opportunities, chances to engage the audience on a different level. Instead they’re treated with the same half-assness as the rest of the movie, and in some sequences the characters aren’t even lip syncing properly.
The one musical bright spot comes in the form of a cameo from Go Betty Go, a surprisingly solid all girl pop punk band that are shown opening for Neowolf towards the end of the film. Google that shit, the music is good and the chicks are hot. Although be warned, they talk kinda funny too.
Sheath those horns metal dude.
Some of the online material suggests that at one point this film had a very different fate. I don’t want to turn this into “The Neowolf That Wasn’t” but it’s interesting to consider the film’s original title was The Band From Hell, and the poster art that was being used right up until the film’s release on DVD was much, much more campy. Also the fact that Neowolf has Alan Smithee listed as it’s director is some indication that somewhere, at some point, things went horribly wrong here. The DGA doesn’t allow directors to operate under the pseudonym unless sufficient evidence is given that the director’s vision has been compromised. The fact that the final box art and trailer (I mean we’re talking font and all) strongly resemble New Moon points the finger at someone on the studio level for trying to capitalize on the Twilight phenomenon.
What’s really frustrating about Neowolf is the the core concept is so ripe for awesomeness. When someone gives you the cash to make a horror flick about a rock band full of werewolves and record original tunes for it, it should be a cardinal fucking sin to turn out something this shitty. Suddenly the director’s reasons for taking his name off the picture becomes crystal clear. Old boy shit the bed…big time. I’m actually convinced that the same script, using different actors, a better editor and kick ass music could actually result in a fairly decent movie. This is a very frustrating miss, a true rock and roll nightmare.
The DVD is about as bare as they come. A trio of Lionsgate/Lightning Home Entertainment trailers and some Spanish subtitles. The film is presented in Widescreen with 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio.