Werewolf Hunter (DVD)

Starring Julian Sands, Elsa Pataky, John Sharian, and Gary Piquer

Directed by Francisco Plaza

Released by Lions Gate Home Video

Werewolf films have been a mixed bag lately, ranging from good (Ginger Snaps) to bad (Wes Craven’s Cursed), leaving fans of the hairy little sub-genre to, pardon the pun, howl for something new or at least good to sink their teeth into. Werewolf Hunter, despite its horridly cliche cover art, offers something different.

Instead of focusing on some strange curse handed down from funny sounding gypsies complete with pentagrams etched into its curse bearer’s hands, this film deals with Lycanthropy as a medical affliction, and it’s an interesting take to say the least.

Being that there’s not a single special feature on the disc, let’s focus on the film itself. Werewolf Hunter follows the exploits of womanizing soap salesman, Manuel Romasanta. Manuel travels from town to town selling his product and, well, slaughtering anyone that gets in his way. Never piss off a soap salesman, people. Learn this lesson.

After killing his victims, he then harvests the fat out of their bodies to make his sudsy product. Personally, the mere thought of cleansing one’s self in a product made of human waste makes my skin crawl and has done so ever since Fight Club. I’d rather stink. Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Romasanta’s victims consist mainly of women that have fallen in love with him during his travels. As anyone can tell you, good things never last forever. Sooner or later he’s bound to piss off the wrong chick, and there is no wrath more volatile than that of a woman scorned.

The premise of the film works fine enough, and there are quite a few visual and visceral treats along the way including a very strange transformation, but things get a bit disjointed here and there. Based on the newly given title for American audiences (during its European release (the film was originally known as Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt) and the aforementioned horridly cliche box art, fans may be misled into thinking they’re getting set for the conventional werewolf film. This film plays more like a serial killer drama than it does anything else. Tales involving serial killing werewolves are not exactly something new, and for a more competent take on the subject matter, I’d suggest going back and re-watching the film that the back of the box likens itself to — The Howling.

While the direction and the acting are indeed top-notch, Werewolf Hunter just barely misses the mark in terms of delivering the goods. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for a headsy film, and truth be told, I am a sucker for films based on fact. The problem is even actual events can be on the boring side no matter how sensationalized, and when it comes right down to it, this film’s just a little too long in the tooth.

2 ½ out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.