Werewolf movies have a long and hairy past. Ever since Universal’s golden age of horror cinema, unfortunate individuals who get bitten by Lycans transform into snarling beasts and terrorize hapless victims all under the eerie glow of a full moon. The topic of werewolves has been a successful entity over the years in film and now yet another movie has been released to further showcase these nasty monsters. That film I’m referring to is a direct-to-Blu-ray reboot of the 80’s horror franchise The Howlingand it is called The Howling Reborn.
Will Kidman (Landon Liboiron) is your typical awkward high school student. He is in love with an attractive classmate Eliana Wynter (Lindsey Shaw) and his best friend Sachin (Jesse Rath) is a nerdy aspiring independent horror film director. One day, a strange woman named Kathryn (Ivana Milicevic) with a dark secret reenters Will’s life and that secret happens to be that Will is heir to a werwolf family! The rest of the film has Will struggling with this scary truth and wether he will follow in the Lycon path or resist it so he can live his life as a human with an unfortunate secret.
The Howling Reborn is a standard direct-to-video horror/thriller. Landon Liboiron (Terra Nova) gives a solid performance as our film’s antihero. He mirrors a young Bruce Campbell and possesses a perpetual look of worry. He knows that danger lurks around every corner and his subtle bravery enables him to combat the evil that surrounds him. The beautiful Lindsey Shaw (Pretty Little Liars) also shines as our hero’s love interest. She has a great look about her and you will probably not want to take your eyes off of her.
Ivana Milicevic (Seinfeld) plays the mysterious Kathryn and her performance is a tad over-the-top. She is definitely the villain of the story but her acting is downright awful. Instead of scaring this reviewer, she made me laugh. Not a very successful acting job, I must say. Jesse Rath (18 to Life) is without a doubt, one of the film’s highlights. His portrayal of Sachin, Will’s best friend and quirky film geek is so good, you will want to see more of this man’s work. He provides the film’s only comic relief and his performance is truly top notch.
The camerawork and lighting of The Howling Reborn are also worth mentioning. Quick camera movement and tight editing both contribute to strengthening the quality of the film. The lighting is also rather good in that it is dim and washed out, adding to the dreary tone of the film. The lighting almost serves as a character in the film adding depth and emotion to the film. Director Joe Nimziki (The Outer Limits) has put together a pretty decent film here. Between the acting, the lighting and the direction, this is one enjoyable Blu-ray disc.
While many casual home video audiences might think that The Howling Reborn is an original movie idea, they will be mistaken. This film is actually a reboot of the 80s werewolf franchiseThe Howling, a series of movies where werewolves rip apart dopey citizens. The 80s were a great time for the horror genre. Makeup effects and creepy music contributed to this wonderfully macabre era. This was a time when monsters, aliens and homicidal maniacs roamed free. The Howling was yet another excuse for filmmakers to unleash their sharp-toothed and sharp-clawed creatures onto movie theater audiences and the results are pretty satisfying.
Because of the strong werewolf factor in The Howling Reborn, audiences will draw a strong comparison between this and the Twilight Saga and rightfully so. There are many similarities between the two however there are no vampires in The Howling Reborn. For some reason, teens and tweens find the supernatural sexy. I find this weird and somewhat disturbing. Does the youth of today’s world really want to get bitten and transformed into bloodthirsty creatures? I hope not.