Let’s face it, after Twilight both Werewolves and Vampires are going to have a hard time clawing themselves out the mushy, self-pitying adolescent pit they have dug themselves into. Vampires – well, I’m not too concerned about them, after all they have tonnes of critically acclaimed movies to their name; Werewolves on the other hand have something of a patchy heritage.
Well… all that is set to change this year as director/writer Tony Jopia unleashes ‘Crying Wolf’ – a fast paced comedy horror which drags the canine stars out of the soft moody-twilight sets of Hollywood, and back into the damp, gloomy forests of the UK indie-scene where they belong.
‘Crying Wolf’ begins in the town of Deaddington where the brutal death of a local woman is stirring up all sorts of interest from tourists. Amongst the visitors, two ‘hunters’ moonlighting as tour guides offer to take the local pack Werewolves on a camping trip. Whilst the Werewolves, believing their identity to be a secret, are looking to break in their new recruits with a little free-range killing, the hunters hope to put an end to their savagery once and for all – Helsing style!
Whilst most of the story takes place in the present, the whole tale is bookended with a narrator whose overdubbed voice introduces back stories and sub-plots as they become relevant. The overall effect is a story rich in detail, but never lacking in pace. A perfect combination.
The characters are interesting enough, and whilst no great effort has gone into making these Werewolves seem more feral than your average joe (and don’t be expecting ‘Crying Wolf’ to add to any lycanthrope lore), there are some interesting little touches here and there which give each their own identity – the presence of an Alpla in the pack for one. The acting here varies in quality with some performances outshining others by a country mile, however, one thing which keeps the chemistry of the cast in touch is the clever writing which delivers gag after gag in a range of physical and visual styles. This movie is pitched as a comedy, and its a pretty funny one at that! Its British comedy, so foreign viewers beware, sarcasm and hyperbole run riot throughout the vast numbers of one liners and typically British set-pieces. Some hit, some miss, but rest assured all fit in with the whole atmosphere and pitch of the movie. This is the films biggest strength overall – all killer no filler. Most movies pause for breathe every now and then, and even the most acclaimed indie directors succumb to fulfilling at least one cheesy mainstream cliché. Well not here! This is indie through and through, no cheesy love scenes, no rambling backstories, no dramatic heroism – just tits, ass, gore and innuendo!
Talking of tits, ass and gore. This movie is a bounty! The T&A is provided in a range of different scenes and scenarios, and, speaking from the perspective of artistic critique of course (!), very well casted! Seriously though, even these scenes have the whole indie-comedy thing down, from rampant purvey vicars, to peeping Toms, all outlandisly inappropriate of course, but equally welcome. In terms of violence you won’t be disappointed either – have your cake and eat it, or should that be pie? So long as you can tolerate the extensive use of some very very obvious CGI effects, the gore in this movie is absolutely top class. There are dozens of fantastic kill scenes littered throughout the run-time where variety is something of an art form – it’s like the movie ticks its deaths off a horror aficionado’s kill list! As I’ve already said, the effects vary in overall quality, and certainly gore effects over gore-fx would have given the movie a much more brutal edge, but this compromise is certainly made up for in quantity.
Now one thing which is sure to catch any wolf movie out is the transformation sequences from man to beast, and needless to say a limited budget is hardly going to help. Well thankfully, with every other effect going for OTT rather than realistic, the fairly dodgy effects here are in no way jarring. In fact, once you get used to the excessively hairy creature design you come to like their rather amusing appeal, even if they do look like they belong in a cross between a horror themed glam-rock band and MJ’s thriller video!
Overall, for all of the above, this is one of those movies which is destined to be a hit. I don’t just mean in the genre, I mean big time! People need to see this film – hopefully at a range of decent film festivals - who knows? Along with Marshall’s ‘Dog Soldiers’ this has to be well up there as a solid recommendation for the modern Werewolf fan (and indeed fans of well thought through movies in general). It’s funny, gory, sexy and above all massively entertaining throughout. Be sure to keep up to date with all ‘Cry Wolf’ news and release dates @cryingwolf_movi and on their facebook page.