Thursday, October 29, 2015

Days of Halloween 2015: Howl

2015, Paul Hyett (special effects guy on a ton of stuff) -- download

Speaking of werewolves; werewolves on a train !!  Followed soon after by weresnakes on a... ahh, skip it.

Yeah, this one, in premise, is kind of lame. Its a closed room story where a train breaks down in a wooded area with a legendary breakdown years ago, where lots of people unexplainedly died. Guess what, this one will probably be unexplained as well.

The thing about werewolf movies is whether you go Full Wolf or not. Most go mid-Wolf, which is a hairy human body with a wolf head. Some have the conversion to full, because its easier to CGI in stunt wolves. And then some go with the icky hybrid, some they can highlight that they have a good special effects guy. And considering Hyett's background in rubber monsters, this one better look good. They kind of do, in that weird, elongated merging of beast and man look.

So, commuters on a train to or from London... I have to admit, I only wandered in after the credits had rolled. It was the end of this run and I was running out of energy and not committing [ed note. kind of like writing these]. And I didn't think that this was going to require a lot of brain investment. I missed how the train breaks down, but driver (8?) Alfred the Butler (Sean Pertwee playing the recognizable face) gets out to inspect. Munch munch. Yes, he only took the role as a brief appearance; easy paycheck, his name on the credits did their job. Now onto munching the unknowns.

Closed rooms always have a rag taggle of people -- the asshole, the whiny bitch (get it get it !!), the old folks and the tough guy. And of course, the middle of the road man or woman -- usually the hero(es). They are all jammed together, annoyed their commute home has been interrupted followed by annoyed they are all being eaten. They squabble, bitch at each other and only after a few losses, band together to defend themselves. P.S. Why do they continue to sit with their backs to the many many windows on a train?

Like most horror movies of this ilk, the monsters hide in the bushes until a key point in the story, and then we get a full on reveal. We get to see the monster effects in its full glory, and while technically its rather good, man are they icky. Think elongated beast people with not wolfy but bestial heads, pale skin and long claws. As the train is not expected to have a lot of silver bullets, this myth is sidestepped and they just smash a were until he is pulp. I never understood how massive amounts of damage were not going to kill a monster only susceptible to one element -- either you go with instantaneous healing or unbreakable skin. But if you crush his skull with a fire extinguisher, I am not sure how you heal that.

This movie was as fun as you would expect a "werewolves on a ________" movie to be, with no real introspection on the genre, just slashing, munching tension and action.