Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Corey Monteith, Justine Bateman, Tinsel Korey, William McDonald, Gordon Tootoosis
Directed by Yelena Lanskaya
Distributed by Genius Products
Justine Bateman of "Family Ties" fame - that Justine Bateman of all people is the biggest name actor they could get should give you some hint as to how low the budget was - is the lead scientist at a research firm that has developed a new procedure that allows the flawless transplantation of organs between different species. Now no one will ever have to suffer again because now they can, citing the film's example, transplant the eyes of a Siberian husky into that of a blind baboon. The next step is to try it out on humans.
Not surprisingly, being that this is a Sci-Fi Channel original movie, the military has first dibs on this procedure and though the talk on Bateman's part is of healing seriously injured soldiers, you just know that G. Gordon Liddy look-a-like spearheading the military side of things has other intentions for this newfound technology.
The first human transplant recipient happens to be a local young man named Aaron just blinded in a fiery accident. Given the eyes of a wolf, his sight is restored and he can even see in the dark, though his pupils now have a distinctly inhuman quality to them. Now for the unforeseen side effect: lycanthropy. But not the sort of lycanthropy that causes a man to undergo a physical transformation into a werewolf - just a guy with funky contact lenses acting all feral. Having lead actor Corey Monteith spend an amazing amount of time running about shirtless and looking around at everything with great intensity certainly saved money on make-up and other special effects.
Hybrid is more or less The Eye with a lycanthrope twist. Instead of a blind woman seeing ghosts after her cornea transplant donated by a dead psychic girl, Aaron's wolf-to-human eye transplant causes him to relive memories of that wolf in the wild, develop a taste for raw meat (every time he sees a buffalo he starts getting hungry), go running with dogs and wolves, experience violent urges from time to time, and for whatever reason being possessed by a wolf's spirit means he has no problems keeping his pants on but wearing a shirt is completely out of the question. A better question I'd have liked explained is why Aaron always sees this wolves' past visions in a third-person - or third-wolf as the case may be - point of view. We will get a seemingly endless amount of this nature footage.
Now with a movie like this you just know there has got to be some Native Americans involved to wax philosophical about man and nature. You just know there has to be some wise old Native American who can grace us with endless words of wisdom about the delicate balance between man and the earth and the animals. And you would be right. Not one, but two.
Hybrid even comes complete with a pretty Native American girl who can also wax metaphysical like her forefathers. She'll run into Aaron immediately after his escape from the hospital; she'd gone to the research lab to complain about them using her wolf as a research specimen. One look into Aaron's lupine eyes and she immediately knows all she needs to know. In a particularly dopey exchange, she'll explain she's a half-breed too, as in half-Indian, half-French, and that her having had to come to terms with being biracial somehow makes her think she can understand the man vs. beast inner conflict Aaron is now going through.
Once they make the beast with two backs she'll take him to a wise old Indian shaman so that he can have Aaron take part in some sort of ritualistic visionquest that'll supposedly help him reconcile his two halves. This visionquest is merely an excuse to pad out the film with a lengthy montage composed of the nature footage we've already seen plenty of and flashbacks recapping the entire film up to that point.
Meanwhile, Dr. Justine Bateman wants to help Aaron who she believes is merely suffering from a psychological delusion in reaction to the transplant and the G. Gordon Liddy look-a-like, like any good military man in a Sci-Fi Channel original movie, puts together a heavily armed commando squad to hunt Aaron down.
Given how Sci-Fi Channel original movies usually play out, Hybrid deserves some credit for going more of a high-minded psychological thriller route (Aaron doesn't even turn violent until nearly two-thirds of the way), but the road to movie hell can also be paved with good intentions. There really isn't anything to criticize Hybrid for other than it being dull on pretty much every level: dull acting, dull writing, dull directing, dull etc. Very little of anything worthwhile happens over the course of 90-minutes. There's just not much of a movie here. If not for what limited violence there is and the lone sex scene, Hybrid could have easily been an Animal Planet original movie suitable for the whole family and even then it wouldn't have amounted to much.
Those looking for a decent werewolf movie need look elsewhere and those that simply love looking at wolves should just find themselves a nice documentary about them and watch that instead.
1 1/2 out of 5
0 out of 5
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