This movie has such a weird history I’m not sure it even exists, and I’m afraid to rent it and break the illusion. According to its Vimeo page, The American Werewolf Project is a “throwback to the 1980’s B-Horror and camp style films”. The hour-long film is based on the legend of the Beast of Bray Road, and was written and directed by Shawn Anthony.
When a group of researchers begin to investigate reports of a Werewolf in the state of Wisconsin, their skepticism turns to fear as they become the hunted and must do whatever it takes to survive the night. Trapped in a cabin with a beast lurking outside, they discover that some legends are better left alone.
The Vimeo page goes on to call the film a “horror-comedy”. I’ll admit that I did laugh at a scene in the trailer (“I don’t think it’s inside – oh!”), but I don’t think that scene was meant to be played for chuckles. It all seems very grim and straight-faced to me, and despite the presence of what looks like an expensive, uniquely grotesque werewolf suit, it’s not really grabbing me (from behind, causing me to fall down and say “oh!”).
- a Twitter account and a Facebook page, each established in 2011 and essentially dormant until last week
- a production company with a web site that only existed for six months in 2013
- a teaser trailer from 2013 with a lot of two-dimensional fog effects and three seconds of a werewolf wordlessly going like “check this shit out” to the camera
- dozens of scammy “stream this movie for free” links
My guess: Anthony and company shot this movie in late 2012 or early 2013, intending it as the vehicle to launch Hellfire Club Studio Pictures, but something went wrong. Perhaps there were post-production problems. Maybe it was supposed to be scary, but cut together like a parody. Maybe they ran out of time or money. Whatever happened, it sat on someone’s hard drive until this spring, when whoever owns it decided to push it out into the world with some moody title cards and a revitalized social media presence.
It’s hard to make a movie, and even harder to make one that turns a profit. Whatever bizarro path The American Werewolf Project took to its release, I wish its participants well, but I’m not in a big hurry to invest the $5 USD necessary to rent it, let alone the $10 to buy it.