Big Bad Wolf (DVD)
Written & Directed by Lance W. Dreesen
Released by Screen Media Films
This is one I’ve been waiting for years, it seems, thanks in no small part to the hyping director Dreesen did during production and post. Though the end result was not what I had hoped for, Big Bad Wolf is still a pretty solid horror picture with some great kills, even if they are few and far between. And you know me, I have a soft spot for werewolves … even if they do talk.
The story is about a pasty skinny boy named Derek (Duke) who just wants to get in with the cool frat. Why, since he’s neither a jock nor an asshole? Who the fuck knows. Anyway, he’s just a pledge so he wants to be cool, so he tells two of his future frat brothers of a secluded cabin owned by his stepfather where they can go and party their weekend away, as long as they take him with.
Sounds reasonable enough, too bad said cabin is actually his stepfather’s hunting lodge, though he uses no gun or archery on his monthly outings. They just happen to pick a weekend of a full moon, and pretty soon only Derek and his wanna-be tough gal pal Sam (Brown) are alive. Sam’s convinced the werewolf is Derek’s stepdad, a consummate asshole named Michael Toblat (Tyson), but Derek takes some convincing. Just enough, as a matter of fact, to pad the movie out and give the time between lycanthropic debauchery seem much longer than it actually is.
Actually, this area both works and it doesn’t. If it had been anyone but Tyson, I really don’t think it would have done anything but pad the film. Thankfully Tyson is a damn fine scenery chewer and it’s been so long it seems since I’ve seen him in anything, it was cool for him to be more or less center stage for a while.
He also acts as a good opposite to Duke’s character of Derek, who always looks like he’s about to cry should someone glance at him the right way. His character does get a bit of an arc as he realizes what effect his step pop’s lunar activities have really had on his life, so by the end he’s not quite as much of a wimp, but man he was hard to watch for most of the movie.
Don’t even think of getting excited about a cool transformation, though; what we have here is about as standard as it gets, nothing new or original and especially nowhere near An American Werewolf in London, the transformation which I clearly remember Dressen saying he was trying to emulate. I do have to admit I kind of like the look of the beast, despite the semi-stylish hairdo, but man it was a bad idea to allow him to talk. Or, to pull it back a bit, it was a bad idea to allow him to say the things he ended up saying which, as Foy pointed out in his review of the movie, will remind you a lot of Freddy’s one-liners from the last few Nightmare sequels. They could at least have made him say something scary every now and then, for God’s sake.
The look of the beast is broken down pretty well in the 7-minute featurette “Creating the Wolf”, which shows every step of the process of the full-body suit Tyson had to wear, and even more details are handed out during Dressen’s sole commentary track on the disc.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: There are only a few directors out there who can manage a commentary solo. Guillermo del Toro is one. Dressen, not so much, and there are times he gets so intricate with the process of how the film was made that, unless you’re a filmmaker yourself, you’ll likely want to just skip right over it. This is when it would’ve been nice to have someone else with him, if nothing else to rein him in on the details. I was confused as hell after he was about 2 minutes into it, and I like to think I have some knowledge of how film is processed and produced. Shows what I know.
He’s definitely got a lot to say, though, and is able to shed some light on a few questions you may have about Big Bad Wolf, especially why he decided to have a talking werewolf, so if you dig the flick enough it’s worth a listen.
Big Bad Wolf is, at the end of the day, a better-than-average direct to DVD title that showcases a director who’s undeniably got some potential. If he cleans up a few rough edges for his next one, I bet it’ll be even better. The DVD for the flick is lacking quite a bit, and the cover is just atrocious, but there’s enough that a fan of the film will be satiated. It’s not really going to be one of those movies that you’ll be dying for more information about, anyway.
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
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