Beast of Bray Road, The (2005)
Starring Jeff Denton, Tom Downey, Sarah Lieving, Joel Hebner
Written and directed by Leigh Scott
A new sheriff has just arrived in a small hick Wisconsin town just in time for a homicidal werewolf to begin stalking the vicinity of Bray Road. As the beast savagely murders townspeople, reports of missing persons increase while others claim to have seen a big hairy beast in the dark of night. There also just happens to be an old local legend about a werewolf that supposedly slaughtered some people in that area a long time ago. The new sheriff is highly skeptical of all this monster talk even after finding an abandoned car with claw-like streaks of blood on it. The sheriff isn’t going for any of this "Beast of Bray Road" nonsense, and besides, he’s got problems with a trio of trouble-making white trash brothers and a pretty local barmaid that needs wooing.
Meanwhile, certain townspeople are looking to play up the whole "Beast of Bray Road" story in order to increase local tourism unaware that there really is a rampaging monster stalking the night. And no sooner do they begin posting on the internet the tales of local werewolf sightings that an intrepid cryptozoologist shows up offering the sheriff his help and insight into discovering the truth about the mysterious monster. Naturally, the new sheriff scoffs at such nonsense, at least until mutilated corpses start turning off and they have their own run-in with the werewolf. Then it’s time for them to bond and strategize.
From there, a revolving door of stock characters are introduced (primarily so they can be killed off shortly thereafter), the werewolf kills more people, the sheriff and the cryptozoologist get into a bar fight with the white trash trio, the sheriff and the barmaid get it on, and, finally the sheriff, the cryptozoologist, and the best hunter of the three white trash brothers make like Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw as they go in pursuit of the Great White Sha...I mean, werewolf.
After getting off to a promising start and unveiling one of the best looking werewolf costumes to come along in quite awhile, it pains me to report that the Beast of Bray Road is a total misfire. After about a half hour, it became apparent that Beast of Bray Road was conceived by someone with no imagination that instead chose craft the film using a predictable, by-the-numbers werewolf movie template and insisted on following it to the bitter end. Even a clichéd film can be done with some flare but outside of the werewolf kills, which are surprisingly well executed and certainly gruesome enough to satisfy gore fans, the film is utterly devoid of creativity. The characters are cardboard duds and the plot of the film just leaves you feeling blah. This isn’t bad filmmaking; it’s lazy filmmaking.
The most aggravating aspect of all is that even after they come to believe that there’s a werewolf on the loose, neither the characters nor the movie makes much of the speculation as to the true identity of the werewolf. In fact, I don’t recall the topic ever even coming up until the bit twist at the end where the werewolf’s identity is finally revealed. But when it finally is revealed, not only is it a total groaner, I don’t think it was even remotely plausible for this character to be the werewolf as I’m fairly certain there was at least one scene earlier on where the character was clearly established being elsewhere when one of the werewolf attacks took place. I could be wrong and maybe the revelation that this person was the werewolf was possible, it doesn’t matter anyways because the revelation of the werewolf’s identity is still lame. In fact, lame would probably be the most opportune word to sum up the movie as a whole as well.
Oh, and for fans of werewolf movies that really dig the transformation scenes, due to what I’m sure was a lack of budget, Beast of Bray Road cheats you out seeing the actual transformation from person to beast.
Beast of Bray Road claims to be based on a true story. I think it would be best to say "inspired by" instead of "based on" because having read up on the actual werewolf sightings that inspired the film, none of them involved disemboweling and decapitation. Even more laughable is a graphic that appears on the screen at the film’s end stating that this film is dedicated to great state of Wisconsin. I believe Wisconsin would be more honored had they made a better movie.
What a letdown.
1 ½ out of 5
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