Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bev Land's faux werewolf film, LYCAN, hits theaters--with disc/digital/VOD to follow soon

As a longtime werewolf-movie lover (his spouse is, too), TrustMovies tries to keep an eye out for anything good (yes, that's increasingly rare) to be found in this genre. The last worthwhile werewolf film he recalls seeing would be Paul Hyett's Howl (from 2015), which was a smart combo of confined-space-train-travel and monster movie. So, when he heard about LYCAN, a new film that hits theaters this week, interest perked. Werewolf hope, it seems, springs eternal. (Whoops. I've just been informed that the movie's opening has been suddenly postponed two weeks until August 18.)

The film's director/co-writer (with Michael Mordler), Bev Land, is the gentleman shown at left, and while he seems to possess some talent at film-making, this is perhaps not the genre he should be staking out. His movie's beginning -- one of those hot-sex scenes in which something horrible stalks the participants (one of whom is shown below) -- turns out, in retrospect, to be completely ridiculous and near-meaningless, given what we eventually find out is going on. Then the film shifts to its primary tale, that of a classroom in which the teacher --
a very sexy and knowing performance from Vanessa Angel (below) -- has divided her students into sections, each one of which must tackle its very own history project. The section we viewers come to know best is comprised of six students in the usual diverse group: the black kid, the video nerd, the entitled bitch, the outsider, the other (and-clearly-expendable) girl and the caring, beautifully muscled hunk.

Unaccountably deciding to pursue the rather ancient local legend of a werewolf, rather than the more intelligent and reasonable suggestion of a miscarriage-of-justice story (bad decisions seems to fuel most movies like this one), the group, below, heads into the forest (for some reason on horseback) to do, uh, duh, its research. Carnage ensues.

So far, so good: the dialog and performances of the kids are smart and believable, and the classroom scene is quick and clever. Once the group gets into the woods, however, the movie slowly goes to pot (and not the enjoyable kind).

Bad things keep happening, the group refuses to stick together, and soon it's like, "OK: Who's gonna be the next to go?" But as too often happens in movies like this, the audience will probably not give a shit. Our "outsider" girl (Dania Ramirez, above) starts going to pieces in her own very pre-determined manner, while our hero (Jake Lockett, above, left) tries to help.

The gore quotient grows larger (but nothing we've have not previously seen many times over by now), even as the cast of characters diminishes, and finally we're left with a villain who comes as no surprise, and a move-ahead-to-present-day denouement that hands us the usual nonsense of "Oh, right: Evil never dies."

As the end credits rolled, spousie muttered, "What a waste of time." I couldn't disagree, but as I say, there are traces of talent here that may bode better films to come. From MVD Entertainment Group, Lycan opens theatrically in two weeks, on August 18, in various theaters. (Once I get a list of these, I'll post it here.) Meanwhile, it won't be long -- Tuesday, September 26, we're told -- before the film makes its way to home video, on disc, digital and VOD.

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