Full Moon Features: Blood Moon (2021)

When Blumhouse inaugurated its “Into the Dark” series of standalone horror films on Hulu in 2018, there was no guarantee it was ever going to tackle lycanthropy. It finally did, however, with 2021’s Blood Moon, the finale of its second (and so far final) season. Written by Adam Mason & Simon Boyes and directed by Emma Tammi (best known for 2018’s prairie-set psychological horror The Wind), Blood Moon follows a mother and her young son as they move to a desert community in hopes of finding a quiet place to settle down. Privacy is of primary concern for Esme (Megalyn Echikunwoke) since her son Luna (Yonas Kibreab) is a werewolf and needs to be locked in a cage once a month — a trait he inherited from his absent father — but getting the locals to play along is another matter.

Esme’s main order of business once they’ve rented a house (which naturally has to have a basement) is ordering the materials she needs to build a cage strong enough to hold Luna when it’s his time of the month. She also takes a job as a waitress at the local watering hole, with the stipulation that there’s one day out of every month that she absolutely cannot work, the dinner rush be damned. Her boss Sam (Joshua Dov) is reasonable enough about the arrangement, but he’s one of many men in town who sees the headstrong single mother as a potential conquest. That includes odious sheriff Barlow Townes (Gareth Williams), who’s not above throwing his weight around to assert his manhood.

That’s decidedly not the case with friendly neighborhood hardware store owner Miguel (Marco Rodríguez), who takes a genuine interest in Esme and doesn’t snoop around even though he’s well aware the building materials she’s getting (and paying for on installment) aren’t for keeping chickens. When the full moon arrives, Luna dutifully gets into the cage, and Esme retires to the front porch with a dart gun to keep vigil. Their first month in town passes without incident, save for the infection Luna develops that requires a trip to the hospital (where Esme has to think fast to prevent them from taking a sample of his blood), but there are complications the next full moon when Esme is talked into taking a lunch shift and Luna sneaks away to a birthday party he’s been invited to by a well-meaning Miguel.

When they don’t make it back to the house before nightfall, Luna escapes and goes on a rampage he has no memory of when Esme finds him the next morning. Luckily, the authorities are baffled by the mutilated livestock and blame it on a mountain lion, which puts the brakes on Esme’s instinct to immediately pull up stakes, but she knows all about the dangers of getting too comfortable.

Naturally, everything comes to a head after Esme and Luna have been in town long enough for her to consider enrolling him in public school, something that’s never seemed like an option before. That goes right out the window when a series of unforeseen events results in Esme’s arrest by Townes, who’s been itching to haul her in. Her pleas for him to lock Luna in a cell fall on deaf ears, though, and when the boy wolfs out he makes short work of the town’s entire police force. It’s a pity, then, that Tammi skips over Luna’s change, but considering his werewolf form is literally just a wolf, that’s just as well. A full-on transformation sequence clearly wasn’t in her budget.