Lionsgate // 2010 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 4th, 2012
A deadly secret is coming home.
Sadly, this is not a movie based on the character from Mortal Kombat.
No, this is another "dopey twenty-somethings in peril" monster movie. Our heroes are made up of friends and family members, like Sarah (Isabella Calthorpe) who recently returned from America to a tense domestic situation. The awkwardness is soon shelved, replaced with abject terror and despair over bloodletting. As night falls and a storm rolls in, a mysterious primal killing machine is on the loose slaughtering anyone who comes near; the survivors, cut off from the world, run around in the dark, systematically dying.
At this stage of the game, you really need to bring something new to the horror table, if you want to compete. Especially if you're tackling the over-saturated werewolf genre as Night Wolf is. Unfortunately, there's absolutely nothing surprising or original at work here. Despite a few gory shots and some nifty accents, I cannot discern any difference between this offering and the steady onslaught of similar monsters mashes that have found their way into my DVD player over the years.
To be totally fair, there is one slight twist, followed by the reveal of the wolf's identity, but what a long empty slog it is to obtain this mere molecule of entertainment. Night Wolf clocks in at just over 80 minutes and the plot twist doesn't show until the 70-minute mark. Everything leading up to that point: tedium.
It's all stuff you've seen many, many times before. Scrambling little douchebags making all the wrong decisions, finding time for an impromptu makeout session, while people die screaming, eventually whittling down the cast to the exact survivors you'd expect. And all the action takes place in the dark, so you better have a strongly backlit television in a windowless basement.
For the gore-hounds, there will be disappointment. The kills are hyper-edited and usually taken from the POV of the wolf (a red smear of migraine-inducing camera-work). The blood effects, while refreshingly practical, are all shown after the fact (torn-up corpses, gnawed-on legs, and so forth).
That's all I've got. Night Wolf is a film devoid of anything compelling enough to merit a viewing.
The DVD is bare-bones, sporting a standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that's knee-capped by the choice to film everything so darkly, Dolby 5.1 Surround, and no extras.
It's night, there's a wolf, and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) is here somehwere...so, there's that.
Guilty. Shoot this one from a helicopter with a hunting rifle.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R