Author: Craig J. Clark

Craig J. Clark hasn't seen every werewolf movie ever made, but he's working on it (the complete list of the ones he's seen so far is here). He has been a contributor to Werewolf News since August 2011, when he wrote about his deep and abiding love for John Landis's An American Werewolf in London. Since then, his Full Moon Features have appeared every time the moon has been full and bright. His non-werewolf reviews can be found at Crooked Marquee and on Letterboxd.

Full Moon Features: The Howl of the Devil (1988)

This month’s Flower Moon is also a Super Blood Moon, so I’ve chosen a film that is appropriately bloody for this month’s Full Moon Feature. While Paul Naschy’s El aullido del diablo, a.k.a. The Howl of the Devil, isn’t strictly a werewolf film, it does include a brief appearance by his signature character, Waldemar Daninsky, one of many monsters he appears as over the course of what turns out to be a particularly perverted psycho-sexual odyssey. Naschy’s most monstrous character, though, is the decidedly human Hector Doriani, a failed stage actor living in the shadow of his dead brother Alex, a horror star of the ’70s who killed himself in 1981 — coincidentally the same year the last successful Waldemar Daninsky film, The Night of the Werewolf, was released.

Holed up in his spacious country house, the pitiful Hector propositions his comely maid Carmen (Caroline Munro), who repeatedly resists his advances. Frustrated, he gets his kicks by sending his chauffeur Eric (Jesús Franco regular Horward Vernon) out to pick up young women so he can play twisted sex games with them while dressed up as such villains as Rasputin, Bluebeard, and Fu Manchu. After each has been paid off by Eric and sent packing, though, they’re knifed to death by a figure in black wearing a creepy mask and leather gloves. Meanwhile, Hector’s nephew Adrian (played by Naschy’s son Sergio) has an active imaginary life in which he interacts with various classic movie monsters. This gives Naschy the chance to not only dust off Waldemar’s fangs and fur, but also get made up as Frankenstein’s Monster (which Adrian calls “Frankie”), Mr. Hyde, the Phantom of the Opera, and Quasimodo, who says of Waldemar, “He’s dealing with destiny, like all of us.”

There’s a note of resignation in that, as Naschy knew his days of making horror films at a rapid clip were behind him. (In the mid-’70s, he was writing and starring in as many as seven a year.) It’s not surprising, then, that he went out of his way to make sure he could play as many monsters as possible in this, which he deemed “a modest homage to Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Jack Pierce” and the Universal horrors he fell in love with as a child. A film like The Howl of the Devil can’t get by on nostalgia alone, though, hence the gory slasher-type murders and the moments where Eric is seen performing black magic in an attempt to summon Alex and compel him to cross the barrier of death and rejoin him and Adrian. That Eric doesn’t consider what he would look like after spending seven years in the grave proves how shortsighted he is.

As for Adrian, while he reveres his dead father and watches his films at every opportunity, the walls of his bedroom are not only festooned with photographs of Alex in his various monstrous disguises, but also posters for Rambo: First Blood Part II and An American Werewolf in London. Considering it was the latter’s innovative makeup effects that left Naschy’s own efforts in the dust, it’s not for nothing that Adrian tells Waldemar to his furry face that he’s “the best and most tragic of them all.”

Full Moon Features: Mom (1991)

Mother’s Day is two weeks away, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a better werewolf movie for this month’s Pink Moon than 1991’s Mom, one of a number of films hailing from the early ’90s centered on sons dealing with their suddenly monstrous mothers. From New Zealand came Peter Jackson’s 1992 opus Braindead, released in the US as Dead Alive, about a zombie outbreak spawned by a mild-mannered young man’s domineering mother. It was followed by the homegrown Ed and His Dead Mother, a 1993 horror-comedy starring Steve Buscemi that landed more on the comedy end of the scale. Preceding both, though, was Mom, in which the proud mother of a TV news reporter is turned into a flesh-eating monster by a bite from the transient who takes up residence in her spare room.

When she’s introduced, Emily Dwyer (Jeanne Baker) is about the sweetest old lady you can imagine, but she’s suffering from empty nest syndrome since the only way she can see her son on Christmas Eve is by watching his news broadcast and her daughter is just a distracted voice on the telephone. Still, she makes a point of filling her modest house with decorations, with the most important one being the “ROOM TO LET” sign in her front window. This draws the attention of drifter Nestor Duvalier (Brion James), who turned into a monster and viciously murdered a pregnant girl in the film’s opening, so the viewer knows he’s bad news even if she can’t see through his bogus “blind man” routine. She also ignores such classic warning signs as her dog growling at him and the fact that he can smell something burning in the kitchen from his room. (Later on, he even refers to the “heightened sense of hearing” he has thanks to his “condition.”)

The breaking point comes when Emily tries to force some of her home cooking on Nestor in spite of his protestations that he always eats out, whereupon he transforms and puts the bite on her. In short order, they’re preying upon Los Angeles’s homeless population together and her son Clay (Mark Thomas Miller) finds himself in the awkward position of reporting from her crime scenes. (“My mother just quietly and deliberately killed a man and ate him,” he says after witnessing one of their nocturnal outings. “That kind of blows all the old rules to hell, don’t you think?”) On top of this, his girlfriend Alice (Mary McDonough, late of The Waltons) is pregnant, so even after Nestor is taken out of the picture (stabbing him with knitting needles doesn’t work, but burning him to a cinder does the trick), Clay fears for both her and their unborn child. Locking Mom up in her room is only a temporary solution, though, and over time his attempts to hide her condition from the world grow increasingly desperate.

While watching Mom, it quickly becomes apparent that its story may have been better served had it been done with more of a satirical edge, but first-time writer/director Patrick Rand plays things fairly straight. He even includes your standard subplot about the police (represented by harried lieutenant Art Evans, who played a similar role in Ruthless People) investigating a series of animal-related attacks around town. (“Fingerprints?” asks one of his detectives. “For that, you would need fingers,” he replies.) About the only novel twist is the ambiguity surrounding what kind of creature Nestor is. “Vampire, werewolf, ghoul — it’s all the same,” he says, but his monstrous form is hairy enough to qualify as the middle one for our purposes. As for dear old Mom, the only time she’s seen fully transformed is in one of Clay’s nightmares, but the intermediate stage of her make-up is more than a lot of current werewolf films attempt, so I won’t knock it.

Full Moon Features: Beast Beneath (2011)

It’s the Worm Moon, but this month’s Full Moon Feature has nothing to do with them (and precious little to do with actual werewolves, to be honest.) Rather, it’s 2011’s Beast Beneath a.k.a. The Legend of Griffith Park (at least, that’s the title at the end of the closing credits). And that’s not its only alternate title since it’s basically a reworking of director Julian Higgins’s 2007 debut The Wrath. No matter what it’s called, though, it’s pretty lousy, and it committed the crime of stealing 90 minutes of my life. Sure, I arguably would have spent it watching a different crappy werewolf movie, but this is one of the absolute worst I’ve seen since I set off on this journey over a decade ago. It’s enough to make even the most dedicated lycanthropologist wonder whether it’s all worth it. Still, I soldier on, hoping I’ll find another gem or two before I pack it in. (Needless to say, this isn’t one of them.)

As far as I can tell, the main additions to The Wrath are the prologue, in which an unwary couple making out in the park are attacked by an indistinct creature, and the framing device of a father (Mike Agresta) telling the story of the curse of Griffith Park to his alleged teenage son (Phillip Agresta) while they’re camping out there. (Incidentally, this is the first film I’ve seen that goes out of its way to trumpet the fact that it was shot in Griffith Park, a haven for low-budget monster movies going back to the ’50s.) It all starts in the 19th century with Don Antonio, a Mexican immigrant and wealthy landowner on his deathbed whose estate is stolen by the greedy Don Coronel with the help of his shady lawyer and a crooked judge. All three are cursed by Don Antonio’s blind daughter, though, and before they can split up the spoils they’re all killed, one of them at the claws of a hairy beast whose existence is never explained.

Fast-forward to the present day, when Don Antonio’s great grandniece Angelina (Kristina Morales) and her boyfriend Derek (Daniel Bonjour) find a map inside one of her old family heirlooms. Unable to read it, they take it to language arts professor John Diaz (Kurt Sinclair), who claims he needs a couple days to brush up on his Castilian. In the meantime, Angelina and Derek head to Griffith Park to do some snooping and run into bearded hippie pirate homeless guy George (Bertie Higgins, who co-wrote the screenplay with the director and produced the film and wrote the music). George tells them of the “devil monster dog” on the loose, which Derek promptly hits with his jeep, but apparently it isn’t spoiling for a fight and lets them investigate a spooky cave unmolested. Before they make too much headway, though, they’re ejected by a passing park ranger and meet up at a Bob’s Big Boy with Derek’s cinematographer buddy Zhan Foo (Roy Vongtama), who offers to take a crack at translating the map.

Meanwhile, having made short work of it himself, Prof. Diaz tries to beat them to the punch but only manages to get himself, his intern, and the park ranger killed. Does the same fate befall Angelina, Derek, Zhan, and Homeless George? No, it does not. In fact, they continue to go untouched by the hairy beast (because it’s Don Antonio’s pet) and make off with the Don’s treasure without a hitch. One year later, Angelina, Derek, and Zhan are shooting a film called (wait for it) The Wrath and Homeless George has bought a boat and is sailing the Caribbean decked out like the pirate he’s always wanted to be. That just leaves the father and son in the framing story to be attacked by the monster, which they promptly are. I wonder if that’s the part of the story that is “partially based on actual events.” I guess I’ll never know. Frankly, to find out would be beneath me.

Full Moon Features: Lone Wolf (1988)

In retrospect, I probably should have saved The Wolf of Snow Hollow for this month’s Snow Moon, but there’s enough snow in the Colorado-set Lone Wolf to pick up the slack. Released at the end of a decade that delivered a bumper crop of iconic werewolf movies, it’s a film made with a great deal of enthusiasm, if not a lot of skill, with most of the supporting players delivering broad, community theater-level performances and the leads running the gamut from robotic to wildly overacting.

The premise is that the town of Fairview has been beset by a rash of gruesome killings that the police have blamed on a pack of wild dogs, but the viewer knows it’s a werewolf from the start. Right after the cheap-looking opening titles, there’s a scene of a couple making out in a car on a wintry night that ends with the guy (who’s drunk, so he has it coming to him) going off in a huff and being slaughtered by a monster that gets an extreme close-up so there’s no doubt whatsoever about its existence. The girl who left him out in the cold, by the way, is Julie (first-billed Dyann Brown), who doesn’t find out the fate of her would-be paramour until the Neighborhood Watch meeting that’s crashed by his distraught father. “How could a pack of wild dogs do this?” he wails, and top cop Sgt. Patrickson (James Ault) doesn’t have a good answer because there have been two other, equally baffling killings in the interim and he’s done little more than berate detective Cominski (Michael Parker) over his inability to get to the bottom of things.

One of the characters screenwriter Michael Krueger presents as a potential suspect is recent Chicago transplant Eddie (Jamie Newcomb), the lead singer of an unnamed bar band that performs hard-rocking songs with generic titles like “Let It Rock,” “Rock You All Night,” and “Raised on Rock ‘n’ Roll,” but the most germane one is “Misunderstood” because Eddie sure is. Since his parents were mysteriously killed, he’s moved in with his Aunt Trudy and Uncle Jack, who browbeat him for staying out late, violating his parole, and not going to school where he’s taking a course in computer programming along with every other major character. These include put-upon nerd Joel (Kevin Hart — no, not that one), stuck-up mean girl Deirdre (Ann Douglas), and her eye-rolling sidekick Colleen (Siren), plus the sundry ski-jacketed preppies who periodically have their throats torn out.

As suddenly as the attacks start, though, they cease for an entire month, after which Joel uses his ace computer-modeling skills (“We’re not talking another WarGames here, are we?” Julie asks when he proposes hacking into the police department’s computer) to figure out that they all coincide with the full moon. This can lead to the only one conclusion and it’s one he takes seriously enough to melt down his father’s silver sports trophies to make silver bullets off-screen. (“Hey, look,” he quips. “This isn’t Michael J. Fox we’re dealing with here.”) Meanwhile, Eddie is less than heartbroken when Uncle Jack has his heart ripped out, one of many gruesome practical effects the film is littered with. By the time director John Callas gets around to his big transformation scene, though (after limiting sightings of the werewolf to half-second inserts during its attacks), all this does is reveal just how rubbery it is. Conversely, the most effective scenes are the ones where we only see the creature’s shadow as it creeps up walls and looms in the background. Definitely a case where less would have been more.

Full Moon Features: The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)

January brings with it the Wolf Moon, so it’s appropriate that this month’s Full Moon Feature is The Wolf of Snow Hollow, which is set in a Utah ski resort town experiencing a sudden upswing in what appear to be werewolf attacks. (The subject gets danced around at first, but once the w-word is invoked 28 minutes in, it’s never far from anyone’s lips.) As if that wasn’t bad enough, Snow Hollow’s sheriff (played by Robert Forster in his final screen role) is in his “last quarter” due to a heart murmur, which the department is trying to keep the public in the dark about, and his son is feeling the stress of being his heir apparent, which is bad news for the hard-won sobriety he’s all but guaranteed to lose before all is said and done.

Following the standard introduction of a couple of vacationing city slickers renting a cabin in the woods only for one of them to be horrifically mutilated by something off-screen that leaves a giant paw print behind in the fresh snow, writer/director Jim Cummings goes about introducing his protagonist, John Marshall (who happens to be played by Cummings), leading an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. “If you can just focus and not let the monsters inside of you come out, if you can just concentrate on the 12 Steps,” he says shortly before losing his concentration and trailing off, a signal that he’s a man with a lot on his plate. In addition to keeping his father’s failing health under wraps, John is also taking charge of his college-bound daughter and worrying about the onset of ski season, the sole reason for Snow Hollow’s existence. (The Wolf of Snow Hollow takes place around Christmas, but this amounts to little more than window dressing.) As the unsolved murders pile up, though, and John becomes an unwelcome presence at successive funeral services, his grip on the situation and his sanity rapidly unravels.

All in all, this is not a bad set-up for a werewolf story, and Forster lends gravity to the role of the ailing sheriff, giving Cummings someone solid to play off of. The problem is most of the time Cummings’s performance is overwrought, his character’s hair-trigger temper causing him to mistake shouting at the top of his lungs and throwing things at people for shows of strength. Cummings also intercuts his werewolf attacks with the subsequent investigations, which catch John at his most frazzled and disorganized. Next to him, Riki Lindhome’s patient detective looks like Snow Hollow’s most capable and dependable law enforcement officer by default.

I’m probably making The Wolf of Snow Hollow sound worse than it is, but I’d be more inclined to give it a break if Cummings had a better handle on the mystery aspect. Since he tips his hand early on by showing the second attack being carried out by a hulking wolf creature, the only question that remains is who the monster is when there isn’t a full moon out, and one obvious red herring aside, the viewer isn’t presented with any likely (or even unlikely) suspects. And when John does show up on the killer’s doorstep, the realization that Cummings has lifted his climax straight out of The Silence of the Lambs doesn’t make it go down any easier.

Full Moon Features: WolfWalkers (2020)

Arriving at the end of a year that has been fairly dire on all fronts, Cartoon Saloon’s WolfWalkers comes as a blast of fresh air. The latest feature from the animation studio behind The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, WolfWalkers is of a piece with them since it is steeped in Irish folklore and revels in the traditions of hand-drawn animation.

Its story, devised by co-directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart and fleshed out by screenwriter Will Collins, has the simplicity and directness of a fairy tale. Robyn Goodfellowe (Honor Kneafsey), the headstrong young daughter of hunter Bill (Sean Bean), has moved with him to the walled city of Kilkenny, Ireland, where he is employed by the autocratic Lord Protector (Simon McBurney) to hunt the wolf pack that threatens their ever-expanding outpost of civilization. Of course, the wolves wouldn’t be a problem if the humans weren’t so intent on encroaching upon their enchanted forest.

This enchantment comes by way of the WolfWalkers, a mother and daughter who can communicate with the wolves and become wolves themselves — but only while they’re asleep. They also have mystical healing powers which work on ordinary wounds but not WolfWalker bites, as Robyn discovers after she’s bitten by the semi-feral Mebh (newcomer Eva Whittaker), who’s responsible for keeping the pack in line while her mother searches for a new forest for them to move to.

Without being heavy-handed about it, WolfWalkers dramatizes the conflicts of civilization versus nature, Christianity versus paganism, even the English versus the Irish. (Robyn and her father are outsiders in the country and the townspeople never let them forget it.) And it does so with fluid animation, dynamic characters, and some of the most breathtaking action sequences this side of a Hayao Miyazaki film. Best of all, it’s about people who become wolves when they go to sleep. Sounds like a dream come true.

Full Moon Features: Scare Package (2019)

As Werewolf News previously reported, there are werewolves in the horror anthology Scare Package, a Shudder Original that got some festival play last year before making its streaming debut in June ahead of its release on home video last month. And as a horror anthology with six individual segments and a time-consuming wraparound story that morphs into a seventh — which is by far the longest — this package has so little time to devote to its werewolf story that the actual werewolves in it amount to little more than afterthoughts.

Befitting its home on a horror streaming service, Scare Package goes all in on over-the-top gore leavened with goofy dialogue and a heaping portion of meta humor, especially in the opening segment about a creatively frustrated “cold opener” who wants to be a real character without understanding the implications of that in the genre he works in. When this turns out to be a script called “Cold Open” that the passenger in a car is telling the driver about and the driver’s response is “I just don’t know about all the meta stuff, you know,” that’s a fairly clear indication that the rest of the film will be more of the same.

Ranging from the obvious to the ridiculous to the nonsensical, the segments in Scare Package are a mixed bag, many of them playing around with multiple genre tropes while repeatedly returning to the same, familiar slasher beats that were thoroughly beaten to death during its ’80s heyday. One of the few that doesn’t go there is “M.I.S.T.,E.R.” because director Noah Segan and his co-writer Frank Garcia-Hejl have their sights set elsewhere.

It starts unpromisingly enough in a bar where a patron (played by Segan) is having his ear bent by a cliche-spouting bartender. Retreating to the men’s room, he spies a flyer put up by a group calling itself Men in Serious Turmoil, Establishing Rights! Investigating further, Segan tracks the group down to a pet shop where they meet in the back room after hours to air out their petty grievances with women. Eager to hook their latest recruit, the group’s leader (played by Garcia-Hejl) invites Segan to join them that night at a secluded location where they can be as masculine as they want to be, but he has other things in mind.

Suffice it to say, if you’ve ever wanted to see hateful MRA types transform (some of them only partially) into werewolves and get killed off in quick succession in a variety of ways (as one of the film’s creators says on the commentary, “So much of this movie was coming up with interesting ways to kill people”), this nine-minute short should scratch that itch. Just don’t expect its conclusion, which takes a wild swing into a completely different subgenre, to be remotely satisfying. Chasing “M.I.S.T.,E.R.” with a self-proclaimed “post-modern feminist slasher revenge body horror” film was probably a good call, but the most consistently amusing segment in the whole film is the Fourth of July-themed “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV – The Final Kill.” One segment can’t redeem an entire anthology, though.

Full Moon Features: Hunter’s Moon/Hubie Halloween (2020)

It’s rare for the full moon to fall on Halloween, as it does this year. This one is also the Hunter’s Moon, which so happens to be the title of a new werewolf movie that came out earlier this year. What a pity, then, that it’s short on scares and suspense and long on irritating characters. Chief among them is Juliet Delaney (Katrina Bowden), daughter of Thomas and Bernice (producer Jay Mohr and Amanda Wyss), who leave Juliet and her two younger sisters alone in the isolated country house the family has just moved into while they go away on a business trip. What their business is eventually becomes clear, as does the reason why they’re not afraid to leave their daughters alone with three local miscreants prowling about and a sheriff (Thomas Jane doing a ludicrous accent) who has a conflict of interest when it comes to upholding the law.

Hunter’s Moon gets off on the wrong foot with a pre-title sequence in which a young woman is drugged by a psycho killer (the prominently billed Sean Patrick Flanery) who buries her in the woods and is immediately taken out by an unseen growling creature. (This is why his house — “the Ellsbury place,” as the locals ominously call it — was on the market for the Delaneys to snap up.) This opening eventually ties in with the main story, but writer/director Michael Caissie takes his time with the reveal, just as he waits until the last ten minutes to show his monster in full and even longer for someone to actually name it. This kind of coyness is to be expected to some extent, but not every werewolf movie needs to be plotted like a mystery for the characters to solve and fewer still should be built around a twist that can be spotted coming a mile away. The alternate title of Hunter’s Moon is The Orchard. I recommend picking something else to watch this Halloween.

That something else shouldn’t necessarily be Hubie Halloween, though. The latest product of Adam Sandler’s ongoing multi-picture deal with Netflix, Hubie is most notable for featuring Steve Buscemi as a lycanthrope, making this the fourth time he’s played one if you count the Hotel Transylvania movies. Here he’s Walter Lambert, the new neighbor of Sandler’s Hubie Dubois, latest in the long line of socially awkward naifs who are too good for this world that he’s played over the years. This incarnation is a lifelong resident of Salem, Massachusetts, where he’s in his element as a lover of all things Halloween, but also the constant butt of people’s jokes. (He even has to dodge a variety of objects thrown at him while he rides around town on his bicycle, one of the film’s few genuinely amusing running jokes.)

After his introduction, Walter tells Hubie that if he should ever hear strange noises coming from next door not to investigate, setting up the scene later on when Hubie does just that and finds evidence of Walter locking himself in his basement — as well as a feral-looking Walter himself. Before that, he’s also been seen boarding up his windows and doors and piling furniture up against the front door as the full moon (which falls on Halloween, naturally) approaches. After his escape from the basement, Hubie next encounters Walter in the woods, where his sole sign of physical transformation is his extremely hairy arms. Those expecting him to completely wolf out will come away as disappointed as I was.

Full Moon Features: Monsterwolf (2010)

I know not to expect great things from Syfy Original Movies, but even by their low, low standards, Monsterwolf (which premiered ten years ago this month) is aggressively mediocre and dramatically inert. The main conflict stems from whether Louisiana girl-turned-wannabe high-powered New York lawyer Maria Bennett (Leonor Varela, who was Arrested Development‘s first Marta) will help the nakedly evil Holter Oil Company and its sleazy CEO Stark (Robert Picardo, a long way from The Howling) rape her people’s land. Yes, you guessed it. It’s the old “oil company surveying team accidentally releases the animal spirit of a long-vanished Native American tribe which proceeds to eliminate them and anybody foolish enough to sell out to them” plot we’ve all seen a hundred times before. Only this time it features Jason London (following in his twin’s footsteps one year after Jeremy starred in the execrable Wolvesbayne) as Maria’s redneck ex-boyfriend Yale, who comes complete with a runner about how he has an outstanding warrant for his arrest because he ducked out of jury duty. That’s what passes for comic relief to screenwriter Charles Bolon, who figured he would conserve characters by making Maria’s father the local sheriff (Marc Macaulay) who’s investigating the wolf attacks that have targeted Holter’s employees, especially when it catches them littering or driving drunk.

In the role of the Native American Who Knows What’s Going On, Man, Monsterwolf gives us Chief Turner (Steve Reevis, Fargo‘s Shep Proudfoot), whose stories about the brave warrior who turned himself into a spirit wolf to protect his tribe and the other warrior who had to sacrifice himself to lay the wolf to rest are rendered in adorably simplistic animation. And in the role of Yale’s annoying best friend we’ve got full-on redneck stereotype Chase, who’s played by Wolvesbayne director Griff Furst, who also served as this film’s co-producer and second unit director. I haven’t even mentioned Coughlin (Jon Eyez), the cigar-chomping, pretentious, knotted-beard-having mercenary called in by Stark to take out the wolf and, failing that, Chief Turner. At least while he’s around, director Todor Chapkanov appears to be marginally engaged in the action, but the combination of practical wolf effects (for the extreme closeups) and CGI (for the medium and long shots) only serves to highlight the artificiality of both.

Full Moon Features: Night Wolf (2010)

When I first heard about this month’s Full Moon Feature, it was called 13Hrs, a reference to how long its protagonists have to hold out (until dawn, essentially) when they’re beset by an unknown (and barely seen) creature. When it finally came out on DVD — two years after its UK release in September 2010 — it was renamed Night Wolf, presumably so Lionsgate could have a much easier time selling it as a werewolf movie. Set in and around, but mostly in the spacious attic of, a remote English country house, Night Wolf devotes the first quarter of its scant 85-minute running time to introducing us to the characters who will spend the majority of their time in between monster attacks sniping at each other unpleasantly.

First up, there’s Los Angeles transplant Sarah (Isabella Calthorpe), who’s back home for a few weeks but hasn’t been for eight months, which is the first thing she’s ribbed about by her three brothers (some of whom are half-brothers, although the dialogue doesn’t make plain which are which). The most dickish of them is Stephen (Peter Gadiot), who has started sleeping with Sarah’s best friend Emily (Gemma Atkinson) in the interim to get back at her for some unspoken transgression. Charlie (Gabriel Thomson) and Luke (Antony De Liseo) are less-defined, which is understandable in the latter’s case since he spends most of the film sleeping off his first high out in the barn while they others are trapped in the attic, having retreated there after discovering the boys’ father eviscerated in his bed. Rounding out the main cast are their stoner friend Gary (Tom Felton, a.k.a. Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter films), who is the beast’s second victim (well, third if you count the dog), and Doug (Joshua Bowman), who’s nursing an unmistakable crush on Sarah.

Nearly every one of director Jonathan Glendening’s aesthetic decisions appears to have been economically motivated, from the limited cast to the isolated location (translation: no extras) to the fact that it’s nearly over before we’re allowed to get a decent look at its monster. When we do, it’s decidedly not hairy, which leads to a curious morning-after scene when it’s human again and is revealed to be completely hairless. Actually, that should be “when they’re human again,” because this is the sort of werewolf film where one of the characters gets bitten early on and later discovers the wound isn’t as bad as they originally thought, which can only mean one thing, etc. It’s also the sort of film where two sets of characters at two different times start inexplicably making out right in the middle of the crisis, which is precisely the sort of thing that makes me throw up my hands in frustration. I had a different reaction, though, when one of them gets hold of a shotgun and accidentally blows their own head off with it. That I actually applauded.

By the way, the trailer for Night Wolf/13Hrs heralds the fact that it’s from the producers of Dog Soldiers, a comparison that does it no favors. As for Glendening, his follow-up to this was 2012’s Strippers vs Werewolves, a film I have not seen and have no desire to see. Even I have my limits.