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WOLF GARDEN (2023)
Directed and written by Wayne David.
Starring Wayne David, Sian Altman, Grant Masters
Wayne David writes/directs and stars as William, a lonely man living in a secluded house in the woods. At one time, he shared a vibrant home with his girlfriend Chantelle (Sian Altman), but those days seem to be long gone, though William occasionally has flashbacks of good times he shared with her. But in the backyard is a locked shed with something horrifying locked inside.
WOLF GARDEN is a rather predictable small scale film. With a name like WOLF GARDEN, you kind of know what’s in the shed (clue: it has something to do with the howls that plague William’s nights). And with only really three characters, with William always being on camera, it’s not too hard who is in the shed too. That leaves the film the arduous task of winning you over with good characters. While both Wayne David and Sian Altman do a decent job as the happy couple who can’t quite put there finger on the dark pall that’s hanging over their relationship, there’s nothing truly spectacular about their performances either. Both are fine, but neither stand out. David sulks around with a scowl on his face, looking a little too much like a bearded Ryan Gosling while Altman is charming enough. I think the main problem is the low scale of the film and the script which really doesn’t give the couple much to do rather than sit around the cabin and have strange feelings that something bad is going to happen. This scene is repeated numerous times and the story holds back its cards for so long and gives so many obvious clues as to what has occurred between the couple, that you know the ending long before it’s revelation.
WOLF GARDEN feels like it needed to be a little longer in the script cooker in order to justify its hour and a half length. Other than its truncated script, there’s nothing particularly wrong with it other than its predictability. I liked it that is pays homage to Griffin Dunne’s character in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON in one scene, but there’s not enough meat on this bony movie. As is, I can’t fully recommend this one and hope Wayne David’s next effort goes a bit deeper and tells more of an expansive tale.