“Cursed (kur’sid) adj. To be afflicted with, suffer from the calling down of calamity on someone by a spirit, deity, demon, or one of the dead, esp. from a desire for revenge, resulting in an evil, malevolent being.”
I’m well aware of the popularity of the Twilight series. I have to admit that I’ve pretty much avoided the films, mostly because after 7 years of teaching high school I’ve had more than my fair share of teenage angst. Let’s face it. These films are not really for the die-hard vampire, werewolf, or horror fans. They’re genre chick flicks full of all of that overflowing romance and adolescent hormones. While I’ve been successful at avoiding that particular series, I have now finally succumbed to one of the inevitable copies. When something is as profitable as the Twilight books and movies certainly have become, there will be attempts at imitation. It’s a Hollywood law, chiseled into the unwritten statutes that all filmmakers pledge their allegiance to. Wolf Moon, also known as Bad Moon Rising, appears to be one of the first.
This is the story of a very small Midwestern town called Pahrump Valley. As in all such frontier towns, there is the local sheriff. This town has Sam played by once-A-lister Maria Conchita Alonso. Here she plays a pretty much burned out and tired small town kind of cop who doesn’t really expect there to be much trouble. But trouble has indeed come to Pahrump Valley. Cattle are being mutilated, and the local farmers expect her to do something about it. Then there’s Amy (Weirrick), a lonely teenager who aches for some kind of Prince Charming to carry her away from her mundane life. Prince Charming arrives in the guise of drifter Dan (Divecchio), who sweeps her off her feet with a vintage muscle car. Oh, and he also happens to be responsible for those cattle mutilations. You see, he’s a werewolf, but he’s a good werewolf, feeding only on animals. Even when Amy learns his secret, she believes she can save him. Of course Amy’s father, John (Mulkey) just has a bad feeling about Dan, making for some of the most boring macho confrontations on film. As if this wasn’t enough, Dan’s long lost father (Ryan) blows into town. Turns out that’s where Dan got his curse. Dad’s a real bad dude who has no qualms about killing humans. There’s the inevitable werewolf smackdown and a sappy ending. You know you’re in trouble when the big bad monster starts to quote Warren Zevon.
I could say that Wolf Moon is slow, but that wouldn’t be exactly accurate. Molasses in winter. That’s slow. A snail crawling cross-country is slow. But the pacing of this film makes both of those appear to be traveling at Warp 10. Director Dana Mennie has no idea what direction to take this movie. You get some snippets of the traditional horror film. But, all too often, the film bogs down in these “romantic” moments between Dan and Amy. They frolic in the fields and play the star-crossed lovers to imperfection. The werewolf makeup appears to be black grease paint, dime-store fangs, and a gorilla suit cape. It’s hard to believe the film runs only two hours. It appeared to last several lifetimes for me before I reached the best part of the movie: the end credits.
Wolf Moon is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The movie looks like it has been completely sucked of any kind of life or color. It’s all very dark and shadowy, but without the benefit of solid black levels. The flesh tones are considerably pale. The print is in good enough condition. It just looks so dull.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is as dull as the image. You can hear the dialog fine, but there is no atmosphere or ambient life to this presentation.
There is an Audio Commentary where the writer talks about leaving the end open for a return…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
The cast are listed collectively as producers, which means they were all likely working for points. I suspect they won’t see much of a return on that investment. Even the appearance of genre favorites Sid Haig and Billy Drago can’t save this mess. The real curse here is having to watch the entire movie. If you’re a werewolf fan looking for a classic encounter with a classic creature, “It will tear your heart out”.