As outlined in Universal Studio’s recent straight-to-DVD horror film Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, there are a few very important points to keep in mind when hunting werewolves:
- Computer-generated werewolves are the craftiest of beasts. The werewolf hunters of years past had it super easy – their prey was easy to catch, as the beasts were limited in their general speed and gymnastic ability. Famous lycanthropes such as Larry Talbot Jr., David Kessler and Robin Williams were slow, stilted and fairly easy to take down with a well-placed silver bullet, silver-tipped cane or bump of cocaine. Today’s werewolves, though, are like spider monkeys – flinging themselves from castle walls and tree tops as if they had been cast in an Ang Lee martial arts snorefest. As the werewolves amble along like hairy little Cirque du Soleil performers, you’ll long for the days when werewolves had to glue yak hair on their face to achieve transformation – and not just because the CGI werewolf in Universal’s new film is so damn ugly to look at. Seriously, if I was a producer on the Underwold series, I’d check the computer logs to make sure an intern didn’t steal the 0s and 1s that constitute one our series’ computer-birthed werewolves. And then I’d kill myself for having been responsible for such a terrible long-running action series. But first I’d cry plagiarism.
- Silver bullets are for Tiger Beat rejects in wheelchairs. Real werewolf hunters use flamethrowers, Gatling guns and really shiny throwing daggers – the kind that make you want to go “fwoot, fwoot” whenever you throw one. Even “realer” werewolf hunters disregard traditional weaponry all together and wear silver-tipped dentures. Seriously. This is the kind of movie Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is – the kind where characters think they can kill a werewolf by biting them with custom teeth grills. You better just go with it. Real werewolf hunters are also graduates of the Arnold Schwarzenegger School of Woodland Trap Building and are fully skilled in the practice of building flying log death surprises, pits o’ pointy sticks and other trip wire devices that are as unnecessarily complex as they are guaranteed to, without fail, cause the death and mutilation of at least one innocent bystander. That’s just how real werewolf hunters roll. Also, fuck history books! The fact that the mid 19th-centruy werewolf hunters in Werewolf: The Beast Among Us sport anachronistically impossible weaponry only makes the victory against the god-forsaken lycanthropes taste that much better. Just make sure you are wearing your silver dentures – god-forsaken lycanthrope meat is chewy.
- When hunting werewolves, it is very important that you always have an accent. It doesn’t really matter what kind of accent you are sporting but it is very important that you speak with some kind of regional dialect. In Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, the filmmakers were so keen on this rule that they stocked up on an extraordinarily large sampling of accents for their film. The movie, about a team of werewolf hunters who attempt to rid a town of its lycanthrope infestation, features accents as varied as the movie is boring. Despite a story that presumably takes place in some European backwater village, the characters speak with accents that range from Texas drawls, prissy English poncery, muffled meth-head Romanian and something that might have been Russian as faked by a French-Canadian. When it comes to Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, you’ll come for the werewolves but stay for the delightful display of poorly approximated accents. And then leave to go use the bathroom half-way through the movie and probably not return because the crossword puzzle you begin working on while you’re on the pot is 100 times more interesting than the hackneyed werewolf whodunit Universal shat out onto a Blu-ray in time for the Halloween season.
- It’s very difficult to suss out a werewolf’s secret identity. Oftentimes, a screenwriter will go to great lengths to squeeze as many red herrings into a movie as they possibly can – trying to throw werewolf hunters (and over eager audience members) off their trail. It is essential to remember that, when all is said and done, screenwriters for movies as awful as Werewolf: The Beast Among Us are not exactly known for their subtleness. Of course the obvious choice for who is beneath the werewolf’s fur is going to wind up being the werewolf. Don’t be fooled by stray bits of dialogue or seemingly random cutaways to villagers acting suspicious around the full moon. These plot points are scientifically designed to make you second-guess your instinct but you must remember that the kind of writer who pens a movie like Werewolf isn’t exactly a rocket scientist. He’s more a “put Mentos in Diet Coke and wear goggles” kind of scientist. He’s also the kind of person who was forced at gun-point by the studio to make sure the werewolf has a great body with plenty of muscles and has plenty of opportunities to wake up shirtless. And he’s also going to be forced to put a vampire in the third act too! He doesn’t sound like much of a scientist at all, does he?
The film is presented in a 1:78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p high-definition. The soundtrack features a Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track. The image is occasionally crisp although the blacks are often murky and washed-out. Scummy pixelation frequently occurs thoughout the film. Overall, the film has a very cheap look to it. Shot digitally and with a relatively cheap budget, the film has the look of a made-for-TV film that sits in contrast with the disc’s slick presentation. The result is a movie that looks and feels hollow. The sound is, at least, nothing to complain about.
The disc includes both the rated and unrated cuts of the film. The difference is about one extra minute of unnoteworthy gore.
Deleted Scenes – Four minutes of brief fluff – including some added, but unnecessary, werewolf carnage
Making the Monster – A ten-minute overview of the film’s production. Short but to the point, this feature is the perfect choice for those interested in learning more about the movie and/or looking for something to do while heating two Hot Pockets.
Transformation: Man to Beast – A look into the various tools used to bring the werewolf to live – from animatronics, silly rubber suits and even sillier CGI.
Monster Legacy – Synergy in action! This feature features the cast and crew talking about their favorite Universal horror movies – now available on Blu-ray for the first time!
Feature Commentary – Informative track from the film’s director/co-writer and producer shines light into the joyless, journeyman job undertaken to breathe studio-appointed life into the werewolf genre.
Universal 1440 Entertainment presents Werwolf: The Beast Among Us. Directed by: Louis Morneau. Starring: Ed Quinn, Stephen Rea, Guy Wilson, Nia Peeples and Steven Bauer. Written by Michael Tabb and Louis Morneau & Catherine Cyran. Running time: 94 min. Rating: Unrated or R. Originally released in 2012. Released on Blu-ray: October 9, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: stephen rea, Universal Studios