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WOLVES (review)

Review by Dean Galanis
Produced by Steven Hoban
Written and Directed by David Hayter
Starring Jason Momoa, Lucas Till, Merritt Patterson, 
John Pyper-Ferguson, Stephen McHattie, Kaitlyn Leeb, 
Jennifer Hale, Adam Butcher, Miriam McDonald, 
Melanie Scrofano, Adam MacDonald, Alain Moussi
Release Date: October 16th, 2014 VOD / 
November 14th in Limited Theatrical Release

Lame but not terrible coming-of-age werewolf tale is not nearly as awful as the early reviews have indicated.  But please don’t mistake that statement as a recommendation.

Lucas Till plays Cayden, a small-town, high school quarterback who begins to realize he is a werewolf.

After beating the crap out of a rival defensemen, nearly raping his girlfriend and apparently slaughtering his parents, he evades the police and hits the road in order to find some answers.

After happening upon a fellow werewolf in a bar, he’s guided to the town of Lupine Ridge, a town full of werewolves that has split into two clans. Cayden is taken in by the kindly John Tollerman (the always-welcome Stephen McHattie) and his wife, and he starts falling in love with sexy werewolf Angelina, while getting some hefty stare-downs from big-ass werewolf Conor Slaughter (well-cast Jason Momoa).

What follows has for the all the world the feel of a half-baked TV pilot; the opening feels rushed, character development is sketchy, to be kind, the action is perfunctory (the fighting is constantly plagued by the fastfastfast action then slooooooooow mooootion then fastfastfast!!! kind of crap that was passé a decade ago), the plotting connect-the-dots.

Writer/director David Hayter (writer on some of the X-Men flicks) does try to inject some style (the aforementioned action conceits, as well as some attempts at stylized ‘road-trip’ shots of Cayden riding his motorcycle against obviously artificial backdrops; unfortunately, what is meant to be stylized and theatrical comes across as silly and cheesy). His direction, while lackluster and devoid of passion, is still better than his boring script.

Still, the whole stupid, pointless film is watchable enough if there’s absolutely nothing else to look at.  I don’t quite get the savaging this film has received. 

Full disclosure – it was the first movie I’d watched in about ten days, due to my work schedule, so I was a bit movie-starved.  Also, the two reviews I browsed before viewing called Wolves an absolute piece of shit and easily one of the worst films of 2014, so my expectations were already very low. 

But really, I’ve seen much worse this year – even in the past few weeks!

Again, this should not be taken as a recommendation.  It’s all just goofy (though not goofy enough to be fun) and blah, with only McHattie providing some genuine quality with his typically professional work.

This isn’t exactly a missed-opportunity; the premise isn’t very interesting to begin with.  But the movie is a barely watchable mediocrity, not a wretched botch.

How’s that for an endorsement?

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