Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Red Eye Report's 2010 October Horrorthon #24: "Werewolf: The Devil's Hound"

What's a guy to do when there's a werewolf in the family? Well, UPS isn't the smartest choice, but overnight delivery is what happens to Christine (Christy Cianci) when her father gets fed up with her lycanthropic freak-outs. But instead of reaching the doorstep of paranormal investigator Kwan (Lance Atrik Hallowell), the crate is delivered to a struggling special effects studio. After breaking free and catching up on her meals, Christine decides to carve a new life and selects the nerdy Kevin (Michael Dionne) as her mate. Once the bite's put on him, Kevin's metamorphosis kicks into overdrive, but with a concerned wife (Tamara Malawitz) at his side and Kwan on his way, Kevin's soul might just be saved before the beast within assumes control.

To be honest, Werewolf: The Devil's Hound wasn't my first choice for the "W" leg of the horrorthon. I wanted to get at least one werewolf flick in, but when I was too late to get Wolfen from Netflix, this was the first one I could get my hands on. Boy, does it suck, but I didn't to tell you that. Its pedigree says it all, having come from the straight-to-DVD horror wing of Lionsgate that's delivered such delights as Open Water 2 and the atrocious Dark Harvest series. But even with its dodgy reputation for horror outside of Saw, I wasn't prepared for the chore Werewolf turned out to be. For one, it's not the gloomy thriller the cover art suggests but an ill-conceived horror/comedy with no idea how to pull off what it wants to do.

As with the Feast movies, Werewolf thinks that being silly gives it free license to flip the genre switch whenever it feels like it. We get aimless skits and lame pratfalls followed instantly by disemboweled hobos, with zero consistency achieved. There's a very amateurish mindset at work, and while I hate to kick sand in the faces of some indie filmmakers who had little to work with, having the desire to make a movie isn't the same as having the ability to. Werewolf has ambition, but it's not used well, which is most evident through the often painful overdirection. Not even the act of opening a door can go without feeling like a Requiem for a Dream audition, and you'd swear the editor was having a seizure whenever the werewolf (who looks like one of the evil Congo apes) attacks.

Werewolf: The Devil's Hound is awful, awful stuff, but it'll pass. For the time it lasts, it's an ordeal, but no midnight movie parties will be held in its ironic honor. But if anything, that's the worst fate Werewolf could suffer -- for a flick that tried way too hard to be the next cult classic, complete and utter obscurity is all that awaits it.

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