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Wolvesbayne (2009)

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Wolvesbayne review (click for larger image)Reviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Jeremy London, Marc Dacascos, Yancy Butler, Christy Carlson Romano, Rhett Giles, Stephanie Honore

Directed by Griff Furst


Wolvesbayne won’t win any awards for originality, but as I’ve said in the past, if you aren’t going to bring anything fresh to the table you better make sure to retread familiar territory in an entertaining fashion. This is exactly what director Griff Furst and company manages to do until the overwritten script begins to collapse in on itself during the second half. The breezy pace and enthusiastic cast is almost enough to make you overlook a most annoying turn the story takes.

One thing I do suspect viewers of this fast-paced action horror flick will have a hard time overlooking is how little screen time werewolves get despite ostensibly being billed as a werewolf movie. You can watch and tell every penny of the film’s limited budget is on the screen; maybe with a few more pennies they could have afforded to give the werewolves more face time.

Jeremy London (“Party of 5”, “7th Heaven”), showing more personality than usual, stars as greedy real estate developer Russel Bane; a chance roadside encounter with a werewolf leads to him inheriting its curse. After going through the usual newly cursed werewolf motions, the arrogant businessman goes seeking the assistance of the pretty proprietor of an occult shop (Christy Carlson Romano, the voice of Disney’s “Kim Possible”) he had been scheming to acquire the deed to. She has her own lycanthrope secret and takes the reluctant Bane under her wing to train him in the ways of the werewolf.

Wolvesbayne review (click for larger image)Bane’s werewolf problem quickly turns into a vampire problem when he garners the attention of a clan of vamps led by Marc Dacascos as Von Griem, a debonair bloodsucker fed up with his kind having to hide in the shadows.

That the vamps have splintered off into various factions that cannot seem to get along with each other complicates matters. Von Griem resurrects uber vampire Lilith (Yancy Butler, vamping and camping it up all at once, a vampire queen by way of “Mommy Dearest” Joan Crawford) hoping that she can help bring unity to their legion and lead them into a new era of fanged glory. Doing so will require them to acquire a series of amulets that will fully return Lilith’s god-like power.

With the exception of a sexy vampire assassin (Stephanie Honore, soon to be seen in Final Destination 3D) these vampires don’t do a whole heck of a lot that could be construed as vampiric. More of the World of Darkness “Vampire: The Masquerade” variety, which means excessive amounts of vampire politicking and an overemphasis on talking about what they’re plotting rather than actually doing what they’re plotting.

Bane gets roped into working with a team of vampire hunters, the leader of which, Jacob Van Helsing, played by former Asylum regular Rhett Giles, demonstrates a take-no-prisoners attitude that doesn’t sit well with Bane.

In fact, all of these vampire hunters are straight out of an Asylum film: Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Curse, to be exact. Screenwriter Leigh Scott wrote and directed that film back in his days working for The Asylum and brings a few of those characters back to life in this non-Asylum film. Though these vampire hunters are a colorful lot and Rhett Giles is an underrated actor who makes for a credible vampire slayer, the introduction of this clan of vampire hunters where the Wolvesbayne begins to derail.

Wolvesbayne review (click for larger image)Russel Bane’s progression from selfish jerk to reluctant werewolf superhero gets put on the back burner, along with his potential were-girl love interest, going from title character to second, maybe even third fiddle as the returning characters from Dracula’s Curse waltz in around the 50-minute mark and completely takeover the movie. I figured if nothing else it was all setting up Bane’s big moment during the final battle when he’d use his werewolfism to save the day, but, and this really is hard to believe, that’s not exactly how it goes. His big moment doesn’t even involve the use of his wolfman powers and Lilith’s downfall is almost entirely Van Helsing’s doing.

Imagine you’re watching the Wolverine origin movie. Two-thirds into the film the X-Men show up; recruit him, and from that point on he just becomes another face in the crowd while Professor X, Cyclops, and Storm dominate the proceedings and lead the charge against the bad guys. Then the final battle hardly involves Wolverine; he barely brandishes his claws and is just kind of there while other X-Men vanquish the villains. People watching a Wolverine movie probably want to watch Wolverine rip the bad guys to shreds, not smiling politely off to the side while Cyclops blasts the main supervillain into oblivion.

When Wolvesbayne was over I kind of had the feeling I’d just spent 90-minutes watching the superhero origin movie for a minor supporting sidekick. Even then the film is not half bad, but I can’t help but come away feeling a bit soured by the lack of werewolf action in what’s being billed primarily as a werewolf movie and then having that werewolf character we’re emotionally invested in all but sidelined by a group of secondary characters that dominate the entire third act.

2 1/2 out of 5

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Inside (Remake) Review – Is It as Brutal as the Original?

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Starring Rachel Nichols Laura Harring

Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas


While the directing duo of the cringe-inducing and original 2007 French grand guignol thriller Inside have gone on to refurbishments of their own—Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo recently helmed a retread of Leatherface’s origin story—their flick now has an American stamp on it with the release of the remake, also titled Inside.

A cheerless Christmas eve sets the stage for heavily-pregnant widow Sarah’s (Rachel Nichols) oncoming ordeal. It’s a frigid and snowy night. She’s got a huge house to herself, following the accidental and violent death of her husband. She wants to sell the home that was meant to hold a family, to forget the nascent memories it once held. But she’s got to ride it out until the baby is born. While Sarah is lonesome, she won’t be alone. She’s got her genial gay neighbor nearby, and her mum is going to come and stay with her for a few days. Oh, and there will be an unexpected visitor too.

When a shadowy, seemingly stranded stranger (Laura Harring) knocks on the door pleading to be let inside, Sarah instinctively balks. She even calls the cops. But the woman leaves and all seems well. Crisis averted. Sarah puts the housekeys in the mailbox outside for Mom, and goes to bed. Big mistake.

Mystery Lady shows up at Sarah’s bedside armed with chloroform, an IV bag, and a case full of sharp-and-pointies (sorry, ’07 fans… those implements do not include a pair of scissors). The horror unfolds and the expected yet lively game of gory cat-and-mouse ensues. Then the tete-a-tete becomes a body-count chiller featuring one shocking moment after another.

Nichols is fantastic in the role, giving it her all. When the original Inside came out eleven years ago, she was starring in another French-helmed horror, P2—also set on Christmas eve—and she stole the show. She does the same here but with a less-intense adversary. Harring’s killer character, unlike her European counterpart, has a lot to say—which takes away from her initially mysterious manner as the minutes tick off. Still, the girl-on-girl action is a welcome change from the usual gender dynamic one sees in these things. Both deserve kudos for their performances.

While Inside isn’t a died-in-the-wool “Hollywood” remake (Miguel Ángel Vivas directs, while [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró wrote it) it feels like one. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end). However, Inside is still a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it.

  • Inside (Remake)
3.0

Summary

Inside is a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end).

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What If Tina Fey Wrote Jennifer’s Body? My Friend’s Exorcism Book Review

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“Rummaging in one of his duffel bags, [the exorcist] pulled out and athletic cup and slid it down the front of his pants. ‘First place they go for,’ he explained. He then adjusted himself and picked up a well-worn Bible. ‘Let’s do the Lord’s work.'”

It was about a year ago now (it seems) that I first saw the cover of “My Best Friend’s Exorcism.” If you haven’t seen it for yourself in all of its glory, make sure to click the image over to the right for a more in-depth look. Awesome, right? Got to love all the VHS details such as the “Horror” and “Be Kind Rewind” stickers. Classic. Utter classic.

Now I’m fully aware that one should not judge a book by its cover. Literally. But still the moment I saw this work of delicious art crop up in the inbox I had to read the book asap. Well, it turns out asap was about a year later, but all the same, I’ve now had a peek at the inside of the book as well as the outside. Does the content inside match the content outside?

Let’s find out…

For those who might not know, “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” (henceforth referred to as MBFE) tells the tale of two best friends named Abby and Grethen. One night the two, and a few of there other friends, drop a bit of acid for the first time. While the drug never kicks in (no worries, there’s no lame twist-ending to be had here) poor Gretchen still wanders off into the woods and gets possessed like a motherf*cker in some creepy abandoned building. From there, things go from bad to worse until an unlikely exorcist is called in and things go off the wicked walls in all the best ways possible.

Now, to review. First of all, let it be know that MBFE is more of a teen romance (between two friends) than a straight tale of terror. Think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body?” and that will give you a good hint at what the book holds in store for you. Not that that’s a bad thing. Still, you should be aware that the first 2/3 of the book is almost exclusively teenagers not getting along, bitch about losing touch, who is sleeping with who, and yada, yada, yada for pages on end. Dramarama for days. Mostly.

That said, not only is the teen drama bearable (and truthfully quite sweet in spots), Hendrix keeps the horror in the spotlight just enough that I never lost faith the book was heading somewhere truly balls to the wall. And it does. Oh, boy does it. From the time the unholy shite hits the fan in the last third, to the time the last word is read, the book is filled with horror moments that will make even the most jaded fright-fiction fan gag, grimace, or stand up and cheer!

You just have to get through all the angst first…

But speaking of angst, let me get a bit of extremely personal business out of the way real quick. Can I trust you with this info? Sure I can. MBFE made is cry like a baby. Not kidding. There have been very few times in my life that I have literally burst out crying. I’ve had some sad shite happen in my days, and I have seen some sad-ass movies, but nothing has made me cry out of the f*cking blue like MBFE. I’m not going to go into details about the final 10 pages of the book, but it tore my poor horror-heart a new one. It was bad. Like snot and hyperventilating type shite. Again, not kidding. Thank the lord I wasn’t in public is all I can say. I would have arrested and thrown in the booby-hatch.

MBFE goes along like a slightly horror-centric version of Mean Girls and Heathers for most of its page count. If you’re a straight horror fan, you’ll be at odds with whether you should bother finishing it or not. You will. Trust me. But listen to me now and know that once our heroine goes into the dark, dank bedroom of the school’s resident bitch to find out why she hasn’t been in school the past few days/weeks, the horror hits like holy hell. And it only gets worse (RE: better) from there.

In the end, MBFE is a book ever horror fan should own – if only for the cover. I dug the hell out of the book (eventually) and I’m sure the majority of you guys will too. But even for those hard-hearts out there that just can’t stand to read about things like uncompromising love, and hellfire-forged friendship, you still need to own the book. You still owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you don’t care for it, that’s cool, just display in on your bookshelf in all it’s VHS glory. It will make you look cool.

  • My Best Friend's Exorcism - Book Review
3.5

Summary

Grady Hendrix’s “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” is a killer mixture of Mean Girls, Heathers, and The Exorcist. Just think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body” and you’ll have a good indication of what lies in store for you within the amazing VHS-inspired cover art.

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Knock Knock Review – This Throwback To The VHS Era Packs A Fun Punch

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Starring Kerry Tartack, Sisi Berry, Chuk Hell

Directed by Toby Canto


I remember the glory days of my youth back in the early to mid-80’s, renting every friggin horror flick on VHS and keeping the cassettes well past the return dates, eventually blacklisting my name from damn near all of the movie shops in my hometown. For the sole reason of wanting to hop back in the time-machine, I’ll never turn down the opportunity to check out a film that promises to ship you back to the days of all of that cheesy-neon attire and overblown hairdos.

Director Toby Canto was generous enough to offer his latest film up onto the sacrificial stone, and it’s called Knock Knock – about a WAY past his prime pugilist named Sam (Tartack) who is unwillingly thrust into a throwdown with a bloodsucker who happens to reside in the same apartment – damn noisy neighbors! His only birthday wish is to spend his 60th go-round safely hold up in his domicile, away from pesky residents alike. Well, that plan goes to shit when his kooky neighbor (Berry) comes by and pitches the idea of throwing hands with the newest tenant: a real creature of the night (Lucas Ayoub).

Sam initially nixes the idea wholeheartedly, but when more of his quirky neighbors show up to his place to substantiate the vampiric-claims, Sam finds himself lacing up the leather for one more round…or two, depending on if he can still take a beating. Filled with more than a handful of goofy instances, this near-hour presentation won’t blow the doors off of the horror/com vehicle, but should more than suffice in the short-term until the next spooky-laugher comes slithering out of its hole.

  • Film
3.0

Summary

Historians alike, this movie’s for those who want a reminder of how loopy those VHS days were, and the best part is you don’t have to rewind a freakin’ thing.

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