Genius Products // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // September 12th, 2008
The new neighbor wants to have you for dinner.
You could call this one Fright Night Part 3, and it wouldn't insult anybody. Never Cry Werewolf is well aware it is working with a ripped off plot, and would tell anyone who cared to ask it is a horror-comedy homage to other works such as Rear Window, Dracula, Cursed, and Fright Night. The plot is about a girl (Nina Dobrev, Degrassi: The Next Generation) who becomes convinced her next door neighbor is a werewolf (Peter Stebbings, K-19: The Widowmaker). Nobody will believe the guy with hairy palms is killing local residents, and she eventually seeks out the help of a late night cable television personality (Kevin Sorbo, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys). Yeah, we 've been here before where nobody will believe the "crazy" teen who thinks the next door house is owned by a monster. Fortunately for Never Cry Werewolf, horror fans are fine with recycling and remakes since that seems to be the bulk of the genre. The only new twists come as Never Cry Werewolf plays fast and loose with monster mythology, introducing new elements to the lore never seen before. When did mist follow werewolves? Also included is an idea lycanthropes can change at will if they get the skin off the neck of a convicted criminal, are protected by black dogs, have hairy palms when they are human, have cat-like glowing eyes, and can use mind control on members of the opposite sex.
Never Cry Werewolf was produced on the cheap as a "direct to DVD" type feature that made its debut on the Sci Fi Channel. The special effects are low tech, ranging from the typical "guy in a suit" to the same cheap CGI we're seeing too much of these days. You won't be going in to this one for the werewolf effects or innovation in gore. It has a television feel to it, and quite often comes off as a budget version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Ginger Snaps. As bad as the borrowed plot and cheesy special effects are, the performances really aren't that terrible. Nina Dobrey is good-looking, and she commits to the idea of playing the spunky girl heroine as if she's in a better scripted production. Peter Stebbings makes a good werewolf, and his human form is scary enough to almost make up for when his character turns in to a dude in a wolf suit. It's also fun to see Kevin Sorbo back on the screen as a scaredy cat big game hunter who is actually just an actor who has no courage to face the big bad creature.
The DVD is bare bones offering nothing but its main feature and some trailers. Visually, things are passable with okay black levels and good color control for the image. The surround sound track does enough to add some atmosphere, but it is nothing special either. With a lack of supplements, we get no explanation of why the film was made, and can only guess at why anybody would want to remake Fright Night with a chick who sees werewolves next door.
In short, other movies did all of this better: Fright Night is still the horror comedy king of teens seeing monsters in their neighborhood, Ginger Snaps is a far better feminist take on the wolf legend, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer features a stronger female hunter character who takes on big bads with a crossbow. Never Cry Werewolf is simply a somewhat entertaining reminder there are better things out there to pop in to your DVD player. The cast does a fine job with selling what is otherwise a retread of things we've seen before. I'd say this one is a rental or cheap purchase if you are a fan of the horror comedy genre, or have always wanted to see Hercules team up with Buffy to take on furry beasts. This one doesn't amount to much other than an okay ninety minute diversion to tide us over until better werewolf movies come back in to vogue.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated