Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Felicia Day, Stephen McHattie, Kavan Smith, David Reale, Greg Bryk
Directed by Sheldon Wilson
Descendants of the real-life Little Red Riding Hood who inspired the fairy tale have served as werewolf hunters for generations. The first female born every generation is nicknamed “Red” in honor of their ancestor and functions as sort of the “Buffy” of the family. “Buffy” comparisons will also spring to mind when you see these werewolves disintegrate in a fiery burst upon being slain with silver.
This generation’s “Red” is Virginia Sullivan (Day), bringing her fiancé, Nathan (Smith), home to meet what he thinks is her law enforcement family, unaware of the true nature of the criminals they bring to justice or that a werewolf is plotting to eliminate their bloodline once and for all.
Not a bad idea for a werewolf flick; unfortunately, Red: Werewolf Hunter gives off the stale vibe of a failed television pilot. The biggest problem is that its title heroine, her romance, and her heroics are the weak points of the film. Virginia’s grandmother and gung ho older brother both overshadow “Red” as a character and overpower Felicia Day’s dispassionate performance. Day (“The Guild”, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog) may have the red hair required for the role, but she’s as flat as can be as this supposed all-important werewolf-hunting heroine, who by the way appeared to do the least amount of werewolf hunting of anyone in her family. Whether it’s doing what her birth rite requires or trying to convince her family not to kill her fiancé after he gets bitten by a werewolf, Day gives off the wistful personality of a woman in dire need of mood-altering prescription pep pills.
Her fiancé isn’t exactly Mr. Personality either. Not much of a range of emotions from this guy regardless of whether he’s professing his love for Virginia, finding out werewolves exist, becoming one himself, or having mind games played on him by the evil werewolf that turned him and wishes to use him as a pawn in his grand scheme to destroy his fiancé and her family.
Red: Werewolf Hunter is a humorless meld of action, horror, and romance; yet, the action scenes are unexciting and clearly hampered by the low budget, compounding the horror factor due to the computer generated werewolves moving with hokey unnatural physics, and worst of all, the central romance at the heart of the drama is non-existent due to the two leads being emotionally catatonic.
The villain is a telepathic werewolf capable of transforming at will named Gabriel out to teach his full moon-optional transformation skills to a new pack of werewolves in order to kill the Sullivan family and stake their claim as the dominant species on the planet. Stephen McHattie is Gabriel although if you squint really hard, you’ll swear you’re watching Lance Henriksen circa 1998. A cliché bore this villain is, dressing like an old timey vagabond at times, giving tired speeches about how great it feels to be a wolfman, trying so hard to come across as a literate bad guy, I was shocked the script never resorted to having him spout anything Shakespearean.
“Red” makes a major decision at the end of the movie that flies completely in the face of everything she had previously said or done. This inexplicable action might have bothered me more if by then I had still been giving a damn about anything to do with this leaden Syfy original movie.
1 1/2 out of 5
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