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THE HOWLING: REBORN (2010)
Directed by Joe Nimziki
Written by Gary Brandner (novel), Joe Nimziki & James Robert Johnston
Starring Lindsey Shaw, Landon Liboiron, Ivana Milicevic, Erin Agostino, Kristian Hodko, Sean Mercado, Niels Schneider
The eighth film of the HOWLING series is meant to be a jolt of adrenaline to the HOWLING franchise. Plain and simple, THE HOWLING: REBORN is a film made by adults who think they know what kids want. There are ample amounts of screen time dedicated to texting and awkward interactions between teens who look like twenty-somethings. The thing is, the film also wants to ape SCREAM by having the kids in the film self-aware, knowing about werewolves, and even filming themselves so they have a death-scene they can share to the masses. Though Kevin Williamson was onto something in the 1990’s when SCREAM was made, twenty years later, using this motif to reinvigorate another franchise is lazy and downright offensive.
The film starts out promisingly enough as a young woman is attacked by a werewolf. We aren’t shown the attack or told it’s a werewolf, but this is a HOWLING movie, so what else are we supposed to think is doing the attack? Cut forward to a pimply faced teen with a crush on a classmate. There’s an awful lot of TWILIGHT-ing going on with Will (played by Landon Liboiron) angsting over the cute girl in school Eliana (played by Lindsey Shaw). When Will gets scratched in an attack at a party, he starts exhibiting wolfy powers. Soon he thinks he’s a werewolf and is afraid he’s going to turn Eliana into a wolf too. The narrative tries to play with the viewer here, making us guess who is the big bad wolf with red herrings tossed asunder, but in the end, the obvious choice is the best bet. Will fights his urges to kill the ones he loves and ends up in a standoff in a school during a nighttime graduation (who graduates high school at night?).
There are plot holes you could hula-hoop with. There are characters too annoying for words—Will’s friend is of course a horror buff and knows everything there is to know about werewolves. The acting is on par with your usual SyFy endeavor. The effects are equally unimpressive with the director most of the time relying on rapid fire cuts in order to cover up how awkward the werewolves look when they move, plus the mother werewolf looks like an evil poodle in close-ups. Wrap it all up with a pretentious voice-over by Will at the end talking about the new generation taking over the world as some kind of allegory about the youth of the world rising up to the authoritative adults keepin’ the millennials down and you have a stinking wolf turd of a film.
That said, I do have to give this film some props because they have obviously seen the original classic by Joe Dante. The end sequence as the werewolf epidemic spans the globe is met with the same amount of apathy Dee Wallace Stone’s on-air transformation in the original ending was met with. So props for the filmmakers for at least taking a bit of inspiration from the original. That said, the film is trying to pander/appeal to the SCREAM/TWILIGHT crowd, two crowds who I wouldn’t categorize as folks who would check out a film called THE HOWLING.