October 16, 2011

Filthy Review - The Howling Reborn

The Howling Reborn (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

To say I was a little apprehensive before watching The Howling Reborn would be a mild understatement. It wasn’t necessarily the fact that it is a “reboot” of a much beloved franchise that compromises of one great film and a lot of shitty sequels. No, it was more than that. The fact of the matter is that the Werewolf subgenre is kind of like the red-headed stepchild of horror monsters, it gets no love and probably for good reason. Zombies and vampires dominate the affections of the masses, for good or bad, and it is probably down to the fact that there are many good flicks that feature both. When it comes to werewolves you are pretty much going to rely on the old chestnut An American Werewolf in London. You might stretch it to the Ginger Snaps flicks and Dog Soldiers and of course you will bring up The Howling. Of course you can root around and dig up a few more if you want, but it is a sub-genre seriously devoid of real top quality lycanthrope action.

Now, back to the fact that The Howling Reborn is using The Howling brand name really doesn’t upset me all that much. I mean The Howling is a terrific movie, no doubt about it, but I haven’t watched it for years and I am not going to lie and tell you it’s my favorite horror flick so how dare they sully its good name. I’m way past that, I just hoped they could do some justice to the name.

Reborn is actually based on Gary Brandner’s novel The Howling 2, for those that are interested.
The movie itself focuses on Will Kidman, he’s a high school kid who lost his mother at birth and is about to graduate. He’s also infatuated with one of his classmates, the attractive Eliana. Of course, this is a Howling movie so we have to have some wolf action in there right? Yep, so Will notices a few strange things about himself, such as restorative powers, which comes in handy when dealing with the school bully, not to mention increased strength. If you want the complete story handed to you I suggest you read the DVD packaging as that pretty much fills everything else in. Suffice to say that this is basically a love story with some wolf action and teen angst thrown in for good measure.

Now, first things first, I really think this would have worked better if the makers had decided against naming it as a The Howling movie. There’s too much expectation there and comparisons are bound to be made. Saying that it is quite obvious to see that this movie was planned as a start to a new franchise, although whether we will see another one remains to be seen. The movie itself wasn’t terrible, it had a few decent moments, but the whole thing came across as an R rated movie aimed squarely at the teen audience that presently lap up that popular vampire series of movies that you might have heard of. There’s a lot a whining and moaning, thanks mainly to an intermittent narration from Will, that remind us constantly that this is a teen flick. We don’t actually see any real wolf action until about the hour mark, and even then the transformations (which the first film was famous for) are just kind of skirted over. I will say though that the final half hour or so does make for improved viewing over what preceeded it.

The Howling Reborn, as I mentioned, is not a terrible movie. It has its target audience and I would say that I am not part of that demographic. It is very doubtful I would watch it again but I could see a younger, less horror savvy, audience getting a few kicks from it. Maybe.

More wolf action and less clichéd teen angst would have resulted in a better movie. As it stands we are left with some R rated horror-lite, which makes me wonder what the filmmakers intentions were as there is nothing really R rating worthy in this movie. Sex scenes with no nudity, minimal if any bad language and a bit of blood and guts here and there and that’s your lot. Oh, and apparently some drug use that I must have missed. Regardless, a little trimming here and there and this could have easily been a PG-13 and would thus have increased their audience for the flick, as I can’t see this appealing to hardcore horror fans. To those seeking out a more adult interpretation of a growing pains werewolf flick I suggest digging out the Ginger Snaps flicks.

Overall The Howling Reborn is an average movie that is definitely confused in who it is aiming for. Worth a rental if you are a werewolf completist.

The Howling Reborn is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment on October 18th


Mary Kirkland said...

Good to know it's not as good as the movie it's named for. I loved The Howling and the transformation scenes in that movie really had me going the first time I saw it.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"The Howling" is still a superb film but i always thought that "An American Werewolf In London" was a pile of ludicrously over-rated dog-shit, it was all that nauseating British rubbish that was involved in the making of the film that ultimately ruined it, if it had been shot in America with an ALL American cast and crew and had been called "An American Werewolf In Los Angeles" it would have been a quite magnificent film. Bloody worthless British tossers, they always ruin everything.

Anonymous said...

The Howling films have always been a guilty pleasure for me, so I need to see this one. I had no idea it was even coming out, thanks for the heads up.

Lord of Filth said...

Jervaise you really do make me chuckle. Maybe when you have your own language I might take you seriously ;)

jervaise brooke hamster said...

The 4 most important words in my absurdly limited vocabulary: "PAULINE", "HICKEY", "HEATHER" and "O`ROURKE".