When things fall apart, we attempt to bring them back together. When a family is on the brink of destruction, a daughter who previously ran away from the situation may come back in a attempt to make the family whole again. This scenario is the beginning of Night Wolf, which adds a touch of emotion to a genre that doesn’t usually focus on family. When Sarah Tyler (Isabella Calthorpe) returns to her home in England, she comes back to cold brothers and stepbrothers who were put off by her attempt to run away before. The family tension is sidelined by the realization that there is a killer animal afoot, but incredibly this tension still resurfaces throughout the movie. From my perspective, if I were in a crisis situation in which my life was in jeopardy, I would not think about issues like family or friends, but apparently in this movie that still exists. The last thing I would think about is why my stepbrother is now dating my ex-best friend when there is a killer animal chasing me.
If I move past this fact, I can then just stumble onto many other situations where the actors (note I am saying actors and not individuals, because frankly their acting didn’t convince me that they were actually taking on the characters they were trying to portray) did the most unintelligent things. Constantly yelling when you are trying to stay quiet and attempting to have sex when the killer is right near you are two of the more stupid things to do in a situation like this. Still, I suppose the stupidity added a dimension of unraveling that exists when a situation goes from bad to worse. War is hell and this movie seems to take on that vision. When the situation looks grim one of the stepbrothers, Stephen (Peter Gadiot), pretty much attempts to rape his girlfriend Emily (Gemma Atkinson). This is right before he abandons her, which ultimately results in her demise. People go off the deep end in a bad situation, but never before have I seen it happen so quickly and with such a crazed personality. For some people this added dimension may be a plus, but for me the macabre was so dramatic it started to push into the comedy genre. When people are acting so stupid and doing such stupid things, it is hard not to laugh.
Furthermore, the werewolf itself has some comedy sprinkled into it. When it is about to kill someone, the viewer is privy to a first person camera angle within the eyes of the beast. This viewpoint looks cheap and very much reminds me of the Predator when the viewer also gets that first person angle. Not all was bad in this movie; Gary (Tom Felton) was one of the highlights for me thanks to his genuine levity and acting ability. While everyone else looked like they were trying so hard to be something they weren’t, Tom Felton played his part like he wasn’t even trying at all. Unfortunately, Gary doesn’t get as much screen time as he deserves.
The ending of the film also brings the movie together, thanks to its minor twist and faithfulness to werewolf folklore, but when something is so far undone, it’s impossible to make it completely whole again. If I just watched the last quarter of the movie, I would have loved it, but that just isn’t the way it goes. Horror island is receiving a werewolf that plays the part like any cookie cutter werewolf would. There are flaws and there are pros, which ultimately creates the werewolf we all imagine when we close our eyes.
Unfortunately, horror has reached the point where closing our eyes and imagining a monster we already know simply isn’t good enough. We have reached the point where many people say originality is dead, in this case it appears this movie fits that quote. In order to be the best in horror, you have to not only beat the best, but you have to prove to everyone that it is going to be hard for something new to arrive that will top what you possess. Night Wolf filled out the application, got accepted, and now averaged straight C’s at Horror Island University. That won’t cut it in a saturated genre where everyone is looking for something new to cling onto.
If you liked Night Wolf, you might also like Them and Rogue River.