Typically, when the director of a low-budget werewolf film is presented with a naff-looking monster suit, they compensate by keeping it in the shadows and showing it as little as possible. This, however, was not the tack taken by Simon West, the writer, producer, director, and editor of 2017’s Carnivore: Werewolf of London, in which said carnivorous beastie first shows itself 32 minutes in and keeps on showing itself until the credits roll 48 minutes later. And even then it’s not a werewolf “of London” so much as it’s one that lives about an hour outside of the city in the vicinity of an isolated cottage with few amenities that a British bloke unwisely chooses for the romantic getaway where he plans to propose to his girlfriend, an American actress played by a London-born actress whose accent slips occasionally, but that’s really the least of Carnivore’s problems.
Following the traditional pre-credit kill in which an anonymous girl running through the woods is stalked and slayed by… something, West introduced Dave (Ben Loyd-Holmes, his co-producer) and Abi (Atlanta Johnson), who take a taxi to the aforementioned cottage, which has been let to them for the weekend by Sam (Gregory Cox), who shows no sign of actually leaving them alone to have some privacy. West also throws in a number of POV shots of something watching the couple from the woods, and we know it isn’t Sam because at one point it kills and eats a rabbit. All the while, West pads out the preliminaries with two separate sex scenes, Dave’s ill-timed proposal, and an interminable search for Abi’s phone, all of which plays like a warmed-over variation on the relationship issues in Bryan Bertino’s home-invasion horror film The Strangers. Then comes the first of many, many window scares, which become tiresome and predictable in a hurry but still somehow manage to get a scream out of the protagonists.
With no way of calling for help or keeping the monster at bay indefinitely (although it pointedly never breaks through the cottage’s many unprotected windows), Dave and Abi put aside their personal problems and try to figure out how to make it through the night in one piece. Dave even gets proactive, hatching a plan to lure the werewolf inside the cottage and burn it down, which goes about as well as his marriage proposal. As for Sam, he eventually reveals what he’s up to and why he’s able to tell the werewolf that it’s dinner time without being on the menu himself.
Viewers looking for gratuitous nudity and gore to compensate for Carnivore‘s unconvincing werewolf will feel somewhat slighted on the former front as West holds off on it about as long as he keeps the monster off-camera. (Loyd-Holmes and Johnson are both seen in the buff for their second sex scene, though, which comes right before the big reveal.) As for the gore quotient, this gets upped by the random driver who pulls up to the cottage and has his hand bitten off, as well as a later scene where one of the characters is mauled and their intestines removed. It’s doubtful even the most forgiving gorehound will be satisfied, however, by the epilogue which circles back to London (where this carnivore is supposed to be from, remember) and perfunctorily introduces a group of club kids who exist purely to be werewolf chow. But hey, at least they don’t have to hang around for an hour waiting to be devoured, which is a lucky break for them. Pity that doesn’t hold for anybody unfortunate to call up this film.