Thursday, November 8, 2012

Netflix Streaming Tip: Ought you watch WEREWOLF: THE BEAST AMONG US?

Come on: Admit it. You love werewolf movies, and so you've been wondering just how bad WEREWOLF: THE BEAST AMONG US actually is. Sure, it sports the Universal 100th Anniversary logo (which looks absolutely smashing in Blu-ray and hi-def, by the way) and, as it appears to have had a rather large budget, why then did it go straight-to-video? There are reasons, my child, and they're right up there in front of you on the screen.

Before your write this one off, however, you should know that, in its goofy way, it's rather fun -- as much for its many flaws as for its good points. This one is bad in quite its own special manner. As directed by Louis Morneau (shown at right) and filmed mostly (maybe completely) in Romania, the movie looks and sounds like an utterly hybrid concoction from its first scene. Where are we, exactly? The Wild West? Europe of a century (or two, three) back? Neverland? Who knows? And those accents! Adam Croasdell (below, left) is British to the core, while his mate Ed Quinn (below, right) is doing his best young Clint Eastwood rendition. (He's good at it, too: If Spaghetti Westerns ever return, cast Ed quick!)

Considering all the location shooting, we do have a lot of Eastern European accents, but I swear I also heard some Spanish and French in there, too. And the werewolf speaks Yiddish. (Nah, just funnin' witcha!) The plot, too, stealing from so many past movies, is all over the place, with a bunch of odd strands: budding love story, competing werewolf hunters, a suspect father, scholarship to medi-cal school, and a mystery as to just who, exactly, this werewolf is and why he  possesses such a highly developed "moral" sense.

Finally, you may find it best to simply relax and let go of any tendency toward logic. Enjoy the special effects, the pulchritude on view (that's Ana Ularu, above) and the actually rather interesting locations. As for that werewolf, he's a little on the puny side, but he certainly moves fast. When it comes to transformations, however -- changing from human to lupine form and back again -- he's got nothing on one of the other cast members: Guy Wilson, who plays the young leading man and would-be hero man named Daniel.

For much of the movie, young Mr. Wilson (shown above -- center, left -- and below, with the movie's only "star," Stephen Rea) looks about thirteen, maybe fifteen, max. And then comes a scene in which he takes off his shirt. Yikes -- what a body this kid has. Talk about transformations! In the blink of an eye, he's gone from child to sex-object, bringing new meaning to the term "fantasy movie."

So you see: There are pleasures to be found in this silly werewolf redo -- just not, perhaps, what the movie-makers initially had in mind. (Who knows? Maybe they did.) In any case, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us can be streamed now off Netflix and other digital venues (such as the Blockbuster-at-home/DISH connection: see comment below), as well as rented or purchased on DVD/Blu-ray.

4 comments:

Titanius Anglesmith said...

I will admit that after I heard a few of the guys in my office at DISH describe Werewolf: Beast Among Us that I thought I was going to be watching a movie scary enough to make me jump off the couch a few times. I rented it from Blockbuster at Home through DISH and did not have nearly as much fun as you did unfortunately. The concept was great, but I believe that if you are watching a scary movie you should be able to believe in the monster. With the werewolf in this movie looking more cartoonish than scary or puny, I was not able to enjoy myself. Around thirty minutes in to watching it I went to the Blockbuster store down the street for a free exchange. I only watch one movie a week and I am happy I didn’t have to put it off until I got another DVD in the mail.

James van Maanen said...

Hey, Titanius-- thanks for your comment. I admit W:TBAU ain't very scary. And most people will want more scares from their werewolf movies. I wonder, did you read my review after you saw the film? Had you read it prior to watching, would you even have bothered?

And yes, that monster was nothing as fierce or frightening as, say, those in Joe Dante's The Howling (still one of the best werewolf movies ever).

Still, I think this one was more fun than that boring bomb from 2010, The Wolfman (also from Universal -- but with probably ten times the budget). And I'm glad you were able to exchange it for something else at Blockbuster. If you only watch one movie a week, that one damn well better be good!

gibson gill said...

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James van Maanen said...

This comment is obviously just a scam to get some advertising out of the writer's own site -- but since it looks legal and appears to be a way to get American Netflix in Canada, I'll take a chance to let you in on it by posting the comment. If I found out that it's NOT legal, down this comment and its link will come....