Anchor Bay tries to hop on the Twilight bandwagon while also rebooting a real classic in the werewolf genre, The Howling, with middling direct-to-video The Howling Reborn. Coming off more a poor man’s SyFy Channel production than a true successor to Joe Dante’s thirty-year old original, there is some fun to be had for diehard fans of sappy supernatural action and melodramatic romance done on the cheap. Everyone else, however, will probably want to head for the hills when they see this bad moon rising. This rabid wolf that should have been put down before it ever transformed our opinions about what a decent werewolf movie could be.
Landon Liboiron (Degrassi, Terra Nova) stars as Will Kidman, an average high-schooler that just about everyone picks on. While he’s quiet and keeps to himself, he becomes attracted to his beautiful classmate Eliana, which in turn brings out the long dormant animal within. He soon learns why he’s starting to feel this way, as he discovers he’s the heir to a line of powerful and blood thirsty werewolves. Now he has to choose between giving into his wild side and leading the pack, or fighting against them to be with the girl he loves.
While the film may be muddled with so-so acting and special effects, at least everything comes in clear with the video and audio power of Blu-ray. Every fang and claw of the werewolves tearing through folks and hapless victims, to the hormonal teens featured comes in sharp and detailed here. And while the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio picks up every howl, growl, and piece of dialogue, it still feels as though it’s lacking a certain oomph from most Blu-rays.
It comes as no surprise that the special features are just as average as the movie, as there’s only audio commentary with writer/director Joe Nimziki and actor Lindsey Shaw, and a thirty-minute “The Making of The Howling Reborn” featurette that’s split into five parts that cover the aspects of making the film. To add insult to injury, the audio is strangely out of sync throughout most of this feature. It just serves to show that both the movie and Blu-ray release had little care behind them, and were rushed out just to cash-in on Halloween (and again, the Twilight films).
The Howling Reborn isn’t just a below-average entry in the increasingly crowded werewolf genre, it’s an insult to thirty-year old original film, which comes off a masterpiece compared to this mess. Those who might like these SyFy Channel-like productions and care little for well-written characters, special effects, drama, and tense action may like what’s been thrown together here, as the film – and this Blu-ray edition – was obviously slapped together to take advantage of the latest Twilight film due in theaters. Everyone else would do better to seek out Joe Dante’s original film, which is superior to this hairy mess on every level, and remains one of the genre’s best efforts. Where’s a silver bullet when you need one?
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