Blu-Ray Review: The Howling Reborn

Looking for a good, scary movie for Halloween? Well, the Howling Reborn isn’t it. More Twilight than terror, this direct-to-video snoozefest comes with all the mopey angst a teenager could want, but none of the fear. I have to admit, I’ve never seen any of the films in the Howling franchise, so I’m not entirely sure if this is supposed to be a remake, reboot, sequel, or what. However, if this was supposed to generate interest in the prior films, this was a spectacular failure.

The “plot” revolves around Will Kidman (Terra Nova’s Landon Liboiron) and the shocking revelation that he comes from a long line of werewolves. The girl he has long pined for (Pretty Little Liars’s Lindsey Shaw) is finally starting to take notice, and this triggers Will’s inevitable battle against his own kind. Now, with that plot description, you’d at least expect some exciting werewolf action, right? I know I was. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t even see a werewolf until OVER AN HOUR into the film. Keep in mind, the movie barely runs over an hour and a half.

I have to give the filmmakers credit for mostly using practical effects when the werewolves do finally show up. Of course, CGI is involved in the transformations, but at least the battles themselves are in pretty decent looking costumes. As for the battles, director Joe Nimziki does a terrible job shooting these sequences. Pointlessly shaking the camera doesn’t equate to intensity, and quick cuts don’t necessarily lead to terror.

I know the film is direct-to-video, and there is a certain expectation with these films. Going in, you know the budget is low, and the acting won’t be great. However, I really wasn’t expecting it to be this bad. The film doesn’t even look as good as the programming on the CW. It’s dark, poorly shot, and just ugly to watch. And there is absolutley nothing scary about it. More time is spent on the love story and awful voiceovers than any actual attempt to create atmosphere and mood.

As for the extras, there is a making-of feature that runs about half an hour, along with a storyboard gallery. The making-of is your standard EPK, effective enough to almost make it seem as if the filmmakers are actually satisfied with their own work. Essentially serving as a commercial for the film, if I watched this first, I might have actually believed that this was going to be a decent film. There is also a decent enough commentary track from Shaw and Nimziki.

Going in, I was under the impression that this was a film for horror fans. With it’s story of teenage love, and the supernatural battles that end up as a result, this is definitely not a film that will scare anybody. This is a depressingly bad film all around, and one that I can’t imagine anybody actually enjoying. When you spend the first 2/3rds of a werewolf film waiting for an actual werewolf, there’s a problem. Unfortunately, this film earns it’s direct-to-video status, and I can’t recommend the film at all.

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