I don’t know why it seems to be so hard to make a good werewolf movie of late. I mean it’s a fairly easy structure to build around. A tragic but likeable character gets bitten by a werewolf (or cursed by a gypsy) and has to concede to their life by sacrificing themselves for someone they love. OR you can make an evil werewolf movie too, which is always fun. The beauty is you can go a million different ways using this skeletal structure!
Werewolf Rising misses the bar on so many levels. It’s poorly made, it’s sloppily written and there isn’t a decent character or werewolf to be found. I freely admit that I’m not fond of the “digital age” of filmmaking, especially low budget, because I can’t shake the feeling that I’m watching someone’s home video. However, I have reconciled with digital filmmaking so that is not my complaint about the technical workings of this movie. I really only have 2 major hang ups about the technical prowess (not that there aren’t more) that went into making this. First, if any of you reading are budding filmmakers like I please take this advice very seriously: BUY A GODDAMN TRIPOD! They sell them on Amazon for $15, especially if you are trying to do fluid movement. Watching Werewolf Rising was like watching a video my mom took on her cell. Secondly, don’t rip off your soundtrack unless you are Stuart Gordon and even he shouldn’t have but Re-Animator fucking rule. When I first heard the score I thought to myself wow this is actually a pretty cool throwback…until I realized it was a blatant rip-off Halloween. C’mon guys.
Technical ineptitude is something that I am willing to look over sometimes, especially in the low budget arena, as long as there is decent writing behind it. Unfortunately, yet again, Werewolf Rising doesn’t have that either. When we first encounter the werewolf it’s from a POV shot as he/she attacks an escaped prisoner who has kidnapped a woman and is intending to rape and kill her out in the middle of nowhere. The man is attacked and severely injured by the wolf and the girl is killed. Solid beginning to a werewolf movie and also the introduction to the best actor in the film, Bill Oberst Jr., as Rhett the creeptastic rapist. Flash forward to the next day and we meet Emma (Melissa Carnell) who is going up to her parents old place to dry out after deciding to give up alcohol.
Now, it may seem like that is all fine and dandy for the movie and it really would be if they just stuck with that main story. Unfortunately writer/direct BC Furtny doesn’t exactly seem to know what he wants from this film. Enter in the weird and completely uncalled for romance that occurs within 12 hours of Emma meeting Johnny Lee (Matt Copko) who is also an escaped who got out with Rhett. The romance makes little to know sense considering the only time we see Johnny Lee is when he appears to be stalking her. Although, pickings are slim here for Emma between to escaped cons and her dad’s friend who goes by Uncle Wayne (Brian Berry), I guess I would choose the least rapey one too. There is also one other character who isn’t introduced until 15 minutes or so before the movie ends. Not only is that not fair to the audience in a whodunit movie but it also shows that the writer seemed to have two have two plot lines and this one just got phased out.
And finally, the biggest ball drop of the entire movie is that there is NO TRANSFORMATION SCENE! We get a brief look at the face turn and then we cut to the next scene where the character is already wolf. Mind you, this wolf costume looks like something you could get at a local costume shop. I almost always give points to practical effects because it at least shows the filmmakers tried but I can’t even do that here. No one made this costume or put any effort into it and if they did it sure doesn’t look like it. I really like the actor had an old Halloween costume in his closet and brought it to the set one day and they said “sure, why not?”. The answer is: Because we all want to see a goddamn transformation scene!!!!!
I have been wishing for years that there would be another Werewolf movie boom but sadly it looks like I will be waiting a long time. If anyone out there has seen it and actually liked it please let me know why and if you didn’t feel free to share your thoughts too!