Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Michael Dionne, Christy Cianci, Tamara Walawitz, Philip Gauvin
Written & Directed by Gregory C. Parker & Christian Pindar
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
I’m not entirely sure what sort of movie the makers of Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound were going for and I’m not entirely sure they knew either. One moment it’s drearily serious and the next it’s totally tongue-in-cheek. It’s obvious they were going for horror/comedy, but the movie they’ve made is little more than a tedious horror flick sprinkled with Ernest movie-level humor for the first 2/3rds that suddenly devolves into a truly terrible Troma movie for the final 20-minutes. And none of that “anything goes” stuff in the finale is anywhere near as funny as they clearly think it is. I’m a guy who can appreciate such a film but knowingly making a bad movie doesn’t excuse making a movie this bad.
One thing is for certain: this is one of the most overdirected movies you will ever see. No hyperbole in that statement at all. Damn near every single scene has been directed with the manic glee of an overly enthusiastic film student making their first movie and feeling the urge to cram every last camera, lighting, and editing trick they ever learned into it. To call this film an obnoxious exercise in visual overkill would be putting it mildly. After awhile this started feeling less like an actual motion picture and more like a calling card on the part of the filmmakers for others in the industry to see what they can do behind the camera. Yet for all the constant and mostly unnecessary visual gimmickry the movie is astonishingly slow paced. That’s probably because more thought clearly went into the camerawork than ever went into crafting the tonally schizophrenic story, of which there’s hardly any actual plot until the last 25-minutes.
A female werewolf that looks more like a small Yeti has been captured in Europe. The captors intend to transport it to the United States, which they do by putting it in a wooden crate and Fed Ex’ing it to America. That right there should tell you how incredibly self-aware as to how stupid it is Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound is.
Unfortunately, that crate mistakenly ends up at the facility of a small family-run movie special effects company. Ironically, the level of special effects technology on display at this low rent effects house is still vastly superior to any on display in the movie itself.
The female werewolf that looks more like a werewolf version of the Shaggy DA breaks free from her crate and bites young Kevin. The next day Kevin starts feeling weird and begins undergoing a change; his loved ones for the most part oblivious to everything. Kevin will also do an awful lot of aimless walking around set to the tune of really somber music that only succeeds in further underscoring just how uninteresting this all is.
The female werewolf then reveals herself in human form to be an attractive goth redhead with her sights set on Kevin. She’ll then turn around and call up her initial captors to inform them that she’s intending to start her own “family” so to speak. Am I wrong for wondering why a naturally redheaded female transforms into a white-haired werepoodle?
A trip to a nightclub will lead to Kevin’s first semi-transformation, as well as enough flashing, strobing, and hyper editing to send epileptics into a seizure.
After an hour of crap and the term “overstylized” being taken to hate-inducing new extremes, something resembling an actual plot finally kicks in. These paranormal bounty hunters arrive to explain what the hell has been going on and, immediately, the leader of the group with the wacky fake accent starts doing lame pratfalls and bad prop comedy. These guys won’t stop playing bumbling buffoons; their shtick consistently falling flat, all the way through to the final showdown with Kevin, who finally transforms into a lycanthrope that looks like someone crossbred Wolverine with Teen Wolf.
I really feel sorry for anyone who rents this movie expecting the more serious and horrific werewolf flick Lionsgate’s artwork and back-of-the-case plot synopsis is trying to make Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound out to be. Ah, heck, I feel sorry for anyone who rents this movie, period. Unless you’re really drunk or hopped on something even stronger or consider the average Troma production to be grandiose filmmaking, maybe then you’ll be able to slog through this crud and actually find what’s supposed to pass for whimsy to be witty. What gets me is that I knew it was going to be cheap and cheesy from having seen the trailer online months ago when the film was still called Lycan and I was genuinely looking forward to watching it. But between the mindnumbing boredom of the first hour and the relentless, non-stop directing tricks, by the time the completely silly third act rolled around there wasn’t a damn thing this movie could do to win me over. All I wanted was for it to be over.
There was one moment when I got genuinely excited for a sec. Pinned down by the female werewolf in their effects warehouse, the characters – a term I use very loosely in this case – come up with the idea to use these two remote-controlled life-size monster robots to fight her: one robot looked like a reptilian humanoid and the other something of a sickle-wielding Freddy Kruger. I thought this was one of those moments that could possibly redeem this dreck, if only a little. How wrong I was. Even this proves a dud as one robot is disabled immediately and the very brief fight with the other ends up being yet another case of style over substance.
Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound was insufferable. It didn’t take long before I was ready to shut it off and, frankly, I rather wish I had. The only slack I can cut this atrocious movie is the acknowledgement that at least the two filmmakers show enough technical know-how to possibly produce something worthwhile in the future so long as they leave the screenwriting to someone else and learn to tone down the visual style to a considerably less masturbatory degree.
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
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