DVD Review: Night Wolf

Dating back to 1935’s Werewolf of London and the much more famous and revered 1941 film The Wolf Man there as been one established constant in the Werewolf genre: you fully see the werewolf in the film and you get at least one awesome transformation. So what does that say about Night Wolf were you barely see either?

Originally titled 13hrs and released in England in 2010, Night Wolf tells the story of Sarah Tyler (Isabella Calthorpe) who has returned home to her small British town where she reconnects with a bunch of old friends and family, including Tom Felton (Harry Potter‘s Draco Malfoy). Tension is running tight with this group as it seems a lot of things were left unsaid when Sarah left and these tensions are pushed to their limits when a werewolf breaks into the house and begins killing them off one-by-one.

Yeah, so the basic premise is twenty-something Brits running around a massive house trying to escape a werewolf. As a concept it’s a great idea. However, poorly developed characters, the illogically thought out relationships and plot points and dreadfully written dialog (and the aforementioned lack of an actual werewolf through 95% of the film) prevent this film from being anything less than annoying.

I’m all about the slow reveal. I don’t think it’s ever been done better than in Alien, but in Alien you got an awesome pay off. Dog Soldiers (which had the same producer as this film, so the cover of the DVD promotes) had a very slow reveal, but the end of that film is epic. The end of Night Wolf leaves you frustrated, annoyed and angry.

The reveal of who the werewolf is was not a surprise to me, but if it is to you for some reason, you’re still not going to care. Then on top of all that the film decides to put its own “new twist on a classic tale” by having those who revert back to human form be bald. (And not just bald, but bad, worse than Saturday Night Live bald cap bald.) I’ve never seen this in any other werewolf film and there is a reason: It’s stupid and illogical. If anything, shouldn’t the person be left a little more hairy, not less?

The first twenty minutes of the film introduces the characters and shows them all laughing and having a good time and as the terror of the werewolf begins to descend on them, the pains of their past come to light, so instead of dealing with the werewolf they end up bickering at one another instead. Which leads to stupid things like one of the characters accidentally blowing there own head off with a shotgun. This was actually the funniest and only entertaining moment in the film.

The acting across the board is your standard b-movie quality and has the script been interesting this would have been perfectly acceptable. Look at Cube. However, the characters and dialog are so bad that I’m not even sure seasoned actors could have done anything with it.

Also, this is easily the worst edited film I’ve ever seen. There were several scenes where the editing was so bad I could not visually follow what was happening on the screen. I never had that happen before and it was really annoying.

Night Wolf is based on a solid premise and with a better script and a higher budget for Werewolf effects it could have been a solid entry in the genre. But the film brings nothing new or interesting to the genre and leaves you with a bad, unsatisfied taste in your mouth instead.

The film is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen format and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround. The look of the film is thoroughly acceptable as is the sound.

No special features.

You know when a films top boasting credit on the cover of the DVD is “from the producer of” that you’re probably in trouble already. And at that Night Wolf does not disappoint. However on ever other point it does. If you can’t have an awesome werewolf transformation then you probably shouldn’t make a werewolf movie.

Lionsgate presents Night Wolf. Written by Adam Phillips. Directed by: Jonathan Glendening. Starring: Isabella Calthorpe, Gemma Atkinson, Tom Felton and Joshua Bowman. Running time: 85 min. Rating: R for horror violence and some gore, language and drug use. Released: April, 24 2012.Available at Amazon.com.

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