Whilst other creatures in the monster genre have had somewhat of a revival of late the Werewolf has been somewhat neglected. Whilst Hollywood always goes for the typical bestial approach it is within the indie market that the more interesting aspects of the creature mythos and behaviour is explored; most noticeably the ‘Ginger Snaps’ franchise.
‘Werewolf Rising’ continues this trend in assuming you know what a werewolf is, and crafts an interesting story with the creature in it, rather than about it.
The plot follows the story of Emma, a young recovering alcoholic. Hoping to kick the habit once and for all she moves to a rural shack owned by her uncle. Once there she initially finds the solitude and support she is looking for. One evening she is approached by a drifter ‘Jonny Lee’ and things begin to spiral downwards for her. Being the prettiest girl in about a 100mile radius it’s not long before she’s attracting the attention of the boys in the area; her uncle makes some rather inappropriate moves, Jonny Lee fancies a bit, but also there’s a strange man in the woods, the Werewolf, who has her marked for himself. The whole ordeal escalates through jealousy and violence until an interesting standoff with man’s ‘nature of the beast’ and the beasts primal nature.
The story is told with a small, but competent cast. Whilst it takes a while to get into the characters, some of the earlier scenes are a little ‘stand off-ish’ (for want of a better word), once the movie finds its flow the drama is engrossing. The sets are well put together and feel authentic, and there are a lot of scenes filmed at night, which helps with the atmosphere, but none of them are frustratingly dark. The location is perfect, it’s isolated and the forest within it stands is looming and foreboding. The look and feel of the movie was pretty much bang on the money.
The creature itself wasn’t ever going to break any moulds, it’s your standard guy in a suit affair, but without the use of extensive - expensive - CGI and motion capture, it wasn’t going to be possible to anything but. That said, the costume looks good enough, and the werewolf transformation scene which normally looks really bad in movies is pulled off to good effect. The scenes with the Werewolf are not as stand out as I would have liked, and as I’ve hinted already, the creature is something of a side story in an otherwise drama about (wo)man’s inner demons - quite the metaphor for the werewolf! There is some violence in the movie which is bloody and there is a scene at the end where the werewolf claims its final victim which is pretty brutal too - although I was holding out that there was going to be at least one person completely shredded!
Overall ‘Werewolf Rising’ is a definite watch for any fans of the genre. It’s got an interesting story, and the creature is woven into the plot well. If there is ever a sequel it would be nice to see at least one rampage scene though!