by Chris Learned Kane, Reporter
It could be that one of the first movies to ever really scare me was a werewolf movie (An American Werewolf In London) or it could be that weary contrarian motif in my life, but given the choice between a werewolf or a vampire flick: I’ll gladly choose the former over the latter 7 days a week and twice on a full moon. Over the last 30 years there has been a depressing lack of werewolf movies. I should qualify that: there is a depressing lack of good werewolf films. Adherents to the church of the lycanthrope have our holy trinity: The Wolfman (1941), An American Werewolf in London (1981) and The Howling (1981). Beyond those three you have your choice of dismal remakes, dismal sequels or dismally banal films featuring excellent actors. Needless to say, when this direct to video film came down the pike, I snatched it up as quickly as possible.
A beast terrorizes a 19th century European village by light of the full moon. In an effort to protect his loved ones and his village, a promising young doctor-to-be (Guy Wilson – Almost Kings, Castle, The Midnight Games) joins an eclectic band of werewolf hunters. And after a few unsuccessful attempts at catching the beast, the band begins to suspect that this is no ordinary werewolf.
Sets and Costumes: Blu-ray is unforgiving and presents every bump, boil and zit on set. Werewolf: The Beast Among Us passes this test with an A. The sets, weapons and booby-traps are pretty dang cool! The costumes are nuanced and quite often tell us more about the character than the dialogue or action alone. The locations and sets work to create a mood and tone without zeroing in on a specific era or country.
Practical Effects: If you’re a fan of well-done blood and gore then this aspect of Werewolf: The Beast Among Us will delight! Consider the morgue, werewolf baiting, and cleanup scenes to be proud entries in the gorror category!
Blu-ray Vision and Sound: Visually and aurally this film is excellent. Indoor, outdoor, night or day, the picture is crisp and clear. The sound is likewise impressive and really immerses the viewer. Screams, howls, roars all come through with unsettling quality.
The Writing: With the exception of the opening scene (which is gripping and gave me some hope for the film) the writing is poor. Not only is the script a bit ADD, (at one point I was confused as to who the film was about: the hunter, the hunted, the doctor’s apprentice?) and riddled with cliché, it fully and proudly lifts lines from the hallowed script of the father of all lycanthrope pictures, The Wolfman. I understand homage, but this clearly crosses the border of infringement. Good thing Universal owns both films.
Digital Effects: As mentioned previously, Blu-ray is an unforgiving medium, making it doubly difficult to hide blemishes. I think the film would have benefited from less blatant werewolf shots. Sometimes less is more.
- Unrated version of the movie
- Deleted scenes
- Making the Monster A featurette that takes viewers into the heart of Werewolf the Beast Among us.
- Transformation of the Beast: featurette on the practical and digital effects of the film.
- Monster Legacy: explores Universal’s long history of monster flicks.
- Feature commentary with Director Louis Morneau and producer Mike Elliott
Overall: Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is fun, it’s gory, it provides a few unexpected (for me) twists, and director Louis Morneau (Carnosaur 2, Wrong Turn 2: Dead Ahead) is generous with the scares.
ComicsOnline gives Werewolf: The Beast Among Us on Blu-ray 3 out of 5 howls at the moon!
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