Review by Jude Felton
Peruse any number of horror movie groups or forums online, and it probably won’t take too long to find the inevitable question of recommendations of good werewolf movies. Now, unlike vampire or zombie flicks, there aren’t all that many. Sure, there are a few but not that much in comparison. Fortunately you can now add Howl to the list of good ones.
I’ll admit to not having heard much, if anything, about the UK lensed flick before the press release hit my inbox. However, with Sean Pertwee attached in a don’t blink because you will miss him role, who also graced the screen in the mighty Dog Soldiers, and Shauna McDonald also starring, I had high hopes.
The plot of Howl is in effect a staple of many, many horror flicks; stick a bunch a people in an isolated and confined space, and then let the carnage begin type of affair. It’s a staple that has worked untold times, and no doubt will continue to, and does here as well. Joe, played by Ed Speleers, is a ticket collector for a railway company and he’s just found out he’s been overlooked for a promotion. Luckily for him an obnoxious shit of a man did get the job, and straight away tells Ed he has to pull a double by working the late night train to the ass-end of nowhere.
Add in a motley assortment of passengers, or fodder as they are commonly known, and it’s not long before the horror begins.
Howl is definitely a good, fun movie. It’s one that relies on the characters and situation they find themselves in, rather than focus on the creatures themselves. In fact these are left very much in the shadows, rather than appear full-on in your face, for the majority of the film. This works very much to the films favor, allowing the filmmakers the freedom to not over-stretch themselves.
The cast all do a solid job, with Speleers a worthy lead backed up by a strong supporting cast. Throw in a decent amount of blood and carnage, and you have yourself a quite enjoyable movie.
The one minor gripe I did have was the mixture of passengers, on the train, played at odds with my memories of getting the late train home. I always recalled it being a mix of obnoxious business types and even less pleasant drunks, both who are represented here incidentally. However, the older couple seemed to be a little lost, as it must have been well past their Ovaltine and bedtime, with the train having departed at midnight. Everyone else seemed to be travelling alone. Granted, this is a movie and not a slice of life, or death, so it probably won’t affect your enjoyment.
Overall, Howl is most definitely worth your time checking out. There’s a good solid mix of tension, dialogue and action, and I had a blast with it!
Howl was released by Alchemy on January 12th and is available on Blu-ray and DVD.