Night Wolf (2010)
Lionsgate’s DVD cover art for their upcoming release of the British import Night Wolf is chuckle-worthy. The text “FROM A PRODUCER OF DOG SOLDIERS” is not only highlighted in red on the front, but it’s also repeated front and center on the back. Seriously? That’s this movie’s calling card? Some producer from Neil Marshall’s decade-old werewolf film helped see Night Wolf through – and that’s the most noteworthy thing about it? That seems like a stretch, especially considering how few casual American filmgoers (not counting us geeky horror movie fans) have likely even heard of Dog Soldiers. Ah well, Lionsgate clearly wanted to make the connection for us in their advertising for this product, and they succeeded on that point.
Sarah (Isabella Calthorpe), a young Brit who has returned home on leave from her career in San Francisco. There, she finds her stepfather at wit’s end, her mother absent assumedly with a lover, and her brothers and best friend (Gemma Atkinson) boozing it up in a barn. The house is in a similar state of disrepair as the characters themselves in this dysfunctional family. Soon, however, with a power outage due to the storm, Sarah and her family find themselves suddenly and unexpectedly stalked by a creature that menaces and kills them one by one.
Very much like any 80’s movies, the kids drink and do drugs. The heroine is a responsible and capable young woman – and like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, she’s given a maternal side. In this case, Sarah has a 13-year-old brother Luke who she tries to look after. They’re iced one by one in fairly regular intervals through the movie’s runtime.
The acting is a bit stiff, there is no chemistry among them. To make things worse the kind of hate each other, so why do I bother who dies or not? It’s an interesting movie from the point of view or a new kind of werewolf. I’m assuming it was because of the miniature production budget. In any case the creature is very interesting, I won’t say more so I won’t spoil it for you. I have to say, you won’t see it until the end of the movie. That kind of worked for me because in my mind I created my won creature. The camera view show us how the monster sees things (very cool) and the editing is very good by showing only glimpses of shadows, eye reflection on dark corners and lots or creature noise.
Other problems exist with this story. Like all horror films set in contemporary times, for example, Night Wolf has to explain why a group of teens and twenty-somethings do not have or cannot access their cell phones to contact help. A scene where each character remarks upon why they don’t have their cell phone (one has hers packed in a bag, another had his “ruined at the pub,” etc.) plays off like an absurd comedy of errors – though it does offer the best line of the film, when a character finally asks if anyone can get a carrier pigeon. Horror hounds will also feel a bit let down by the kills. The gore effects are passable, but the majority of the violence is left off screen.
So, ultimately, Night Wolf has some promising elements but they never fully get realized thanks primarily to ill-conceived characters. The movie by no means is crap, but the best I can go with here is a “Rent It” recommendation. Perfect with a few pints on your belly.