October 7, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us'

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us originally started off life as a sequel/spin-off (call it what you will) to the 2010 movie The Wolfman. Now, for whatever reason, it has been given a new life as an ‘all new movie’, with little or no connection to the Joe Johnston flick. Well, aside from the obvious fact that there’s a werewolf in it! What Universal has done is try to recreate the classic Universal flicks of old, albeit it with a modern twist, and the results are surprisingly fun.

The film starts off with a young boy witnessing the savage massacre of his family, and subsequent destruction of his home, by a werewolf. It then shifts forward 25 years and focuses on a small village in 19th Century Europe, which is being terrorized by another werewolf. The folk here aren’t clueless, and readily accept that werewolves are indeed real, so we don’t have to deal with lots of doubting Thomas’s. Now, you might think that we would be following the young boy, now an adult played by top billed Ed Quinn. This is not really the case though. Yes, he is part of a group of werewolf hunters, along with the charismatic Adam Croasdell, but he is more of a supporting role.

Instead, the film’s real focus is Daniel, a young medical student who works under the tutelage of the village doctor (played by the underused Stephen Rea). He spends his days helping the doctor, and by helping I mean killing folk that have been bitten by werewolves, and spending time with the love of his life. Seems that this is not enough though, because he wants to join up with the werewolf hunters to rid the village of its lycanthropic nightmare.

Straight out of the gates it becomes apparent that Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is meant to be a fun flick, and it is. There’s a healthy amount of decent gore, with limbs aplenty on display, and the script throws out a good few chucklesome moments, usually from Croasdell’s character. The feel of the film, aside from trying to replicate the old Universal flicks, for me was a blend of old Hammer films mixed with Van Helsing or Underworld; there’s definitely a modern feel to ye olde action.

I will admit to being slightly perplexed as to why there would be an American (Ed Quinn) in the midst of a village in 19th Century Europe, as he was obviously raised there from a young age. So where does the accent come from? I would also have liked to have seen a lot more of Stephen Rea, who is the real class act in this film. Alas, he seems to have been relegated to a minor role.

The action I found to be quite entertaining, and for the most part the actual wolf is kept to small shots here and there. This is probably because the budget didn’t allow for particularly good CGI. There are scenes where the wolf looks pretty monstrous, but then this gets taken away when you see a computerized wolf leaping through the woods.

On Blu-ray the film does look very good, with nice crisp images, and the sound is jubbly too. The bottom line is that Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is a film that kept me entertained. It didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, and it is a bit daft in places, but damnit it was a fun and bloody romp.

Included on the Blu-ray combo pack is a rated version of the film, which I didn’t watch, and the unrated version, which I did. I’d recommend watching this version as it is nice and gruesome in places, although it only runs one minute longer than the rated movie. There are a few extras included as well, including an audio commentary, some deleted scenes and featurettes.

All in all, a surprisingly entertaining movie that doesn’t require much in the brain department and, despite its flaws, I had a good time watching it.

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is released on Blu-ray combo pack by Universal on October 9th.

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