The world of cinema has not been kind to werewolves as of late. Though I personally vote in favor of vampires in the classic “vampires vs. werewolves” debate, even I think that between their infamous portrayal in the TWILIGHT franchise (and its subsequent knock offs) and a well-meaning but ultimately lackluster remake of THE WOLFMAN, Hollywood just doesn’t seem to have a grasp on why people gravitated towards these movies in the first place (although I will admit I did love watching THE WOLFMAN from 2010, but certainly not because it was scary). For most of the last decade, it’s been difficult for horror fans to find anything in mainstream media outside the UNDERWORLD franchise and monster mash films like HOTEL TRANSELVANIA to see werewolves up on the big screen. Fans had to turn to the international movie scene for movies like GINGER SNAPS to find anything new, or they simply had to be content rewatching classics like THE HOWLING or AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.
Enter the upcoming UK horror movie HOWL, scheduled to be released sometime this year. The movie centers around Joe, a young ticket collector riding the last train out of London on a dark and stormy night. Without warning, the train comes to a sudden halt, much to the annoyance of the group of misfit passengers aboard. However, when the driver doesn’t return from his investigation, it doesn’t take Joe long to realize that there is something lurking out in the darkened woods; something waiting to strike under the light of the full moon.
The film is directed by Paul Hyett, and it is written by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler. It is produced by Starchild Pictures and will be distributed by Alchemy here in the US. Though an official release date hasn’t been announced, I can’t help but get excited when I see this trailer. Not only does it seem to be a return to form for a classic monster, but the film itself seems to have an emphasis on practical effects rather than on CGI. A werewolf transformation sequence done with practical effects was masterfully accomplished in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON back in 1981, and arguably has not been surpassed even to this day. As such, it’s always nice to see when a movie tries it’s best to convey what a werewolf would actually look like, without the use of CGI. It should go without saying, but it’s also really nice to see a werewolf depicted as well, a monster; not member of a love triangle, not a comedic side-character, or nameless stormtrooper in the fight against vampires, but a real monster who’s humanity has been tragically buried underneath a mountain of animalistic rage and hunger. Honestly, it feels like it’s been ages since I’ve seen a movie in theaters that even attempted to do something like that, so seeing this trailer feels oddly refreshing even thought it’s just doing a normal take on werewolves.
Not only this, but I have to admit that even though it’s a cliché, I’m a total sucker for movies where a group of people are stuck in one place together as the monster (or monsters as the case may be) lurks just outside, desperately clawing at a way to get inside to pick them off one by one (if you disagree, please refer to SHAUN OF THE DEAD, DEMON KNIGHT, and FEAST as hilarious and awesome examples of why you’re wrong). Using an English backdrop for this story also seems to add a lot to the overall aesthetic of the movie, making it feel even more like a classic werewolf tale. The one downside of this trailer is that, like many trailers, it may very well give away too much about the overall story. That being said, what we do see has indeed piqued my interest, to the point where I will start actively checking Alchemy’s website and the movie’s twitter page for a release date. Will this movie ultimately change my mind in the aforementioned “vampire vs. werewolf” debate? Probably not, but while some people are writing this film off as “werewolves on a train” in the same way one would dismiss SNAKES ON A PLANE, I have to say that I’ll be keeping an eye out every full moon for this movie to be unleashed!
What did you think of the trailer? Does this trailer leave you hungry like the wolf, or do you think there’s just not enough substance for you to sink your teeth into? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
~ Megan Salinas
Follow me on Twitter at: @themenguin