The werewolf sub-genre in horror is one that often gets left behind. Which, in this post-Twilight world, I must confess, I find rather surprising. One could look to budget constrictions as to why independent werewolf films are few an far between. A good werewolf transformation takes money. A realistic looking werewolf takes money. Perhaps that is the main reason why independent film makers shy away from the genre. It didn't stop them from diving into the zombie apocalypse head first however. I swear for every halfway decent zombie film, there are fifty that should have never been made simply because the zombies look like shit. But enough of my ranting, lets take a look at true anomaly in todays horror landscape - a pretty decent independent werewolf film.
Hidden away in the misty British countryside is the village of Deddington is a curious little book
shop. It's shopkeeper (Caroline Munro, Maniac) is just as odd as the wears she is selling. One book in particular catches the eye of a Private Detective. She is hesitant to sell it to him, but in true Gremlins fashion he ends up with the book anyway. It's when he sits down at the local pub and starts to read that the film starts in earnest. The book, "Crying Wolf" tells the tale of a pack of werewolves ostensibly being led to their doom by an escaped victim and a celebrity monster hunter. The film flashes between events leading to the packs formation and present day as they are unknowingly led to slaughter. The stories dovetail together in the climax as the werewolves are hunted down and destroyed.
Crying Wolf is a hybrid film. While it certainly contains elements of horror and action, the films heart and soul is its humor. Now for those of us on the other side of the pond, be aware this is a British film and contains many British jokes and colloquialisms. So if films like Shawn of the Dead or Cockneys Vs. Zombies left you bereft of laughs then steer clear of Crying Wolf. For those who found those films charming and humorous, there is good comedic value in the film. It's not as funny as those tow films but, certainly has enough humor to entertain for an hour and a half.
Once you move past the comedic elements of the film, Crying Wolf loses it's footing - like a dog trying to ride in the back seat of a car. While the gore is certainly prevalent, most of it is the annoying computer generated kind. Which is a shame, because when the effects are done practically, they are done extremely well. The werewolf transformation scenes - the bedrock of any good werewolf film are really hit and miss. Again, when the transformations are done practically, they are head and shoulders above the computer generated ones.
While the computer generated effects may leave a lot to be desired, the film itself is pretty damn entertaining. It's a film that knows exactly what it is. It's a fun, fast paced, werewolf romp. Using the Private Investigator as a framing device works beautifully as it allows the viewer to float back and forth between timelines, while giving context to the character developments taking place before our eyes. The performances in the film are pretty much what you'd expect from an independent film with an ensemble cast. There are some good ones and some that are pretty cringe worthy. Munro as the shopkeeper and veteran character actor Gary Martin as the Private Detective stand out but so does the gorgeous Gabriela Hersham as the head werewolf, Milly.
Crying Wolf is certainly not your typical horror film. It wears it's comedic elements on it's sleeve much more than anything it does in the horror genre. Add some pretty cool practical effects and some decent performances and Crying Wolf manages to stand out above the typical independent horror film. It's not going to pave the way for an independent werewolf film revolution, but it doesn't have to.
*** stars out of *****
That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."