Werewolf: The Beast Among Us

Originally this was intended to be a theatrically released sequel to the maligned werewolf flick The Wolfman starring Benecio Del Toro.  If you read my review of that one, you’ll know that I actually really dug it, critics be damned.  Unfortunately Universal decided not to go that route, and instead cut back the budget and opted for an unrelated, direct to video werewolf flick set in approximately the same time period.  I figured at that point this would probably be pretty shitty, and forgot about it completely until I read a surprisingly favorable review on High-Def Digest and decided to give it a shot.

Turns out it actually is a half decent werewolf flick.  One thing the reviewer on Hi-Def pointed out was how this was one of the few werewolf movies where they didn’t waste time setting up the lore of the werewolf or have a plot built around no-one believing in werewolves and having to be convinced with their first encounter with the beasts.  Instead, this is set in Transylvania where everyone already knows about werewolves.  There are even travelling werewolf hunters who operate much like bounty hunters would in a western.  What’s good about this is that the movie wastes no time getting to the action, monsters and the gore.   And let’s face it, no one is going into a direct to video werewolf film looking for anything more than what I listed there other than perhaps some T & A which is unfortunately the only element missing here.  The plot even has some pretty good twists that made it stand out from the pack, so to speak. 

I have to say I was quite impressed with the amount of carnage and bloody aftermath shown in this movie.   When we’re first shown the village where the majority of the movie is set after the werewolf has ravaged it, there are savagely mutilated corpses and pieces of corpses strewn all over the place.   The werewolf tears people to shreds clawing, biting, slashing and even disemboweling people.  Good stuff.  I also like how the village doctor is so used to dealing with werewolves that he keeps a pistol on hand loaded with silver bullets so any patients showing sign of werewolf attack are shot on sight, and all bodies are burned to prevent them from coming back.  Trying to tell the ol’ doc you hurt your arm in a threshing accident isn’t getting anyone off easy in this town…

Unfortunately, because this is a direct to video release, the CG doesn’t hold up to well.  Most of the werewolf shots are done in CG, but the suite looked good when they used it, so I don’t know why they felt the need to use the CG for practically everything.  Also, all of the change sequences are done in CG as well.  This isn’t the worst CG I’ve seen by any stretch, but it isn’t doing the movie any favors.  However, if you can look past CG that looks like the work done in The Mummy Returns without a few of the final passes of rendering finished, the rest of the movie makes up for it.

One thing that’s nice is this doesn’t look cheap (other than the CG).  The costumes are all well done (although the “too modern” goggles and flamethrower combo for one character was a little weak), and the setting is cool.  The movie is competently shot and lit as well, and certainly doesn’t look like some of those shot on handy cam shitfests that plague the home video market.

It isn’t like there are a lot of good werewolf movies out there, so if you’re in the mood for a werewolf horror and want to see something other than American Werewolf in London or The Howling, give this one a go.  It’s a decent, 90minute popcorn monster flick with a solid amount of gore and plenty of action.