Sunday, July 1, 2007

Big Bad Wolf (2006)

This movie is a flaming piece of shit. I was suckered into netflixing it because it "stars" David Naughton. If you're like me then you love 1981's An American Werewolf in London. It's one of the few movies to effectively mix comedy and horror. Evil Dead 2, Dead Alive, and Shaun of the Dead are three of my favorite movies, but I was never scared during any of them. American Werewolf was funny AND it scared me. So, when I saw that there was a 2006 werewolf movie featuring David Naughton (Do I really have to explain who he is?) I had no choice except to move it to the top of my Netflix queue. Even the cover of the DVD made me think of American Werewolf.

Again, this movie is a flaming piece of shit. It's no American Werewolf. It's no Cursed. It's no Silver Bullet. It's certainly NOT Dog Soldiers (a movie I'm convinced is a masterpiece). I'm positive that the assholes over at Screen Media (a company that may have surpassed Charlie Band's Full Moon as the biggest purveyors of crap around) have never even seen any of these movies. It's actually more inspired by the legends of Chucky, Freddy, Jack Frost, and the Gingerdead Man. This is the first movie I can remember that features a wisecracking werewolf. This thing just doesn't shut up. He's the kind of beast that recites the 3 Little Pigs before slaughtering his victims. At one point, he rips out a girls guts and as they spill onto the floor he asks future victims if they're "going to eat that?". I chuckled when he ripped off a kids head and punted it before yelling "GOALLLLLLLLL". Kind of funny. In addition, he's the horniest werewolf I've ever seen, but more on that later.

The first 30 minutes are like the Evil Dead or Dog Soldiers (Ok, it's possible someone at Screen Media saw one of these or at least heard about them). Derrick and his tom boy girlfriend Sam, go to Derrick's stepfathers mountain cabin with two of his fraternity brothers (and their girlfriends) for a night of drinking and screwing. A werewolf attacks, makes bad jokes, rapes one of the girls in front of her boyfriend before killing everyone except Derrick and Sam, who somehow manage to escape. The next 40 minutes involve a cat and mouse game between Derrick, Sam, and Mitch (stepfather who is clearly the werewolf). The final 20 minutes take place at the cabin. This movie at 90 minutes is about 80 minutes too long.

Back to David Naughton. He must be really hard up for cash. I can only think that he assumed no one would see this, so his "name" wouldn't be all that sullied. Unfortunately, I saw it. His name is sullied. All I can say is THANK GOD for Griffin Dunne. Naughton plays the town sherriff and appears in one brief scene, following the opening massacre. Mitch asks him if the kids told him what they saw. His response: "Not much. He and the girl said much the same thing. A large animal too dark to see. To be honest I think they were holding back. Any information you could get from your son sure would be helpful". Exit. WHAT THE FUCK! They couldn't even provide a subtle nod to American Werewolf. The only reason he was in this thing was to sell the movie. Well, he didn't even do that very well. Last I checked there were 11,315 DVDs ranked ahead of it at Amazon. That number is getting higher every tuesday.

The movie also features a cameo from Clint Howard (Leprechaun 2). If you're a Seinfeld fan, you may remember him as Tobias Nagy, the serial killer Kramer is mistaken for during his trip to L.A. He's around for a minute to warn the kids not to go up to the cabin. Like Naughton, his inclusion is pretty pointless. He's the requisite "that guy" who you will forget about by the next scene. Interestingly, Naughton also had a guest appearence on Seinfeld as a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon. I can only think that, after watching him in this movie, he's still off it. If you must see these two guys, just rewatch your Seinfeld DVDs. I'm warning you. My "job" is to see this movie so you won't have to.

The werewolf/stepfather is played by Richard Tyson (Black Hawk Down). He drunkenly mumbles his way through the scenes as the stepfather. One thing I liked is that they equate the morning after he's a werewolf with having a massive hangover. His wife is constantly nagging him about his drinking. At one point, he wakes up covered in blood next to a ravaged corpse. He grabs his head in an attempt to regain his senses. What's this? He notices something caught between his teeth. He pulls out a finger. Studies it for a minute. Burps (I guess he had to clear room) and pops it into his mouth. A nice little pseudo clever scene. Tyson is a Farrelly brothers regular. I remembered him from Kingpin. He played the stuttering twitching proprieter of one of the bowling alleys where Harrelson and Quaid attempt to hustle. I usually enjoy him, but here he sleepwalked through the part. Maybe that was the point.

A major key to EVERY werewolf film is the transformation scene. How's that scene in this piece of shit? Well, maybe these guys actually saw THE WOLFMAN because they used the same "technology". Apply a little makeup. CUT. Apply a little more makeup. CUT. A little more makeup. CUT. A little more....well, you get the idea. Terrible. American Werewolf came out 25 years ago and THIS is the best they could do? How about the design of the werewolf? Well, the Sasquatch in Abominable was a more convincing werewolf and that thing was a Sasquatch. I think this thing looked more like Sasquatch than Sasquatch. Props to the crew for sticking with practical effects (CGI was used sparingly). I guess they deserve credit for reusing a costume from what I'm sure must have been a better movie.

The film is completely lacking in the suspense department. First of all, we learn who the werewolf is within the first twenty minutes. The movie is loaded with "Boo" moments that are telegraphed a mile away. Characters back into shadowy corners (this happens several times) where the werewolf is clearly visible behind them. We're supposed to jump from our seats when he suddenly reaches out to them. I think he was supposed to be completely hidden in shadow but the lighting boys really dropped the ball on this one. The cat and mouse game that makes up the bulk of the movie involves Derrick, Sam, and Uncle Charlie (I guess they may have heard of Silver Bullet also) trying to prove Mitch is a werewolf so they can justify killing him to the cops. I'm not sure this line of defense would really fly in a court of law, but I didn't go to law school so I'm not sure. Apparently, there is a werewolf DNA test that Uncle Charlie (Christopher Shyer of K9: PI fame) knows about. I didn't go to Medical School either, so I'm unclear as to whether or not this particular DNA test actually exists. All they need is 10 hairs with the root attached. So, they make Sam go into Mitch's bedroom to procure the hairs from his brush. Mitch comes home, Derrick does the worst job of stalling that I have ever seen, and Sam has to improvise. This involves....ahem....her finally putting that tongue ring to good use (to Mitch's pleasant surprise). You can imagine the friction this causes between Sam and Derrick.

Earlier, I mentioned that Mitch/Werewolf is quite the horn dog. In the opening scene at the cabin he rapes one of the frat brothers virgin girlfriend in front of the poor guy. The poor guys pathetic response: "but, but She's a virgin!!". "She ain't anymore kid." This clever line is followed by the werewolf castrating the poor sucker and then poking fun at his manhood as the poor bastard lies there bleeding to death. Funny guy/thing.

Quick sidenote: What's with all the castration in movies lately. Between this, Sin City, Hard Candy, and Hostel 2 I don't think I can take anymore. Note to future filmmakers. Guys don't like watching guys lose their johnsons on tv. It's not cool. Girls may like watching it, but these are not the kind of girls us guys want to hang out with. Thanks for reading.

Back to the review. Cell phones and text messaging play a huge part in the suspense. I guess that makes this like The Departed in that regard. Charlie sends a picture image through his cell phone of the DNA test results minutes before Mitch uses his head as a cookie jar (Spoiler warning. Oops). Derrick must have a really lousy service provider though because he doesn't get the results for another hour (Movie time, not real time. Thank Christ). Was this film as good as The Departed? Just kidding. Ridiculous question.

To sum up, the movie stinks. I would rather watch The Gingerdead Man 100 consecutive times than sit through this garbage again. In the movies defense, their was some decent nudity. So, if you have the mentality of a 13 year old boy, it's 3AM, and you don't get Cinemax go ahead and watch this (As long as it's available free on demand. For the love of god, don't pay for it!). So, yeah, this was not a fun 90 minutes. I dare you guys to rent (netflix) this.

Just a quick note on the DVD. The guys in charge of sound mixing should be fired (or at least forced to watch this movie once a day for the rest of their lives). The dialogue was recorded very low. The sound effects were recorded extremely high. I was constantly having to adjust my volume in fear that the neighbors would think I'm some kind of freak. The folks at Screen Media (an offshoot of Universal or so I'm told) should be ashamed.


Anonymous said...

Ugh. Sounds F'ing horrible. I've already added it to my netflix queue.

Anonymous said...

Another stunningly funny review! And let me say "thank you" for the fact that I'll never, ever, even accidentally, have to watch this movie now. I'm glad that someone is looking out for my well being.

My question, though, is why 10 hairs? That's a pretty specific number. I can just imagine a crime team cursing that the victim only managed to rip out 9 hairs before they bought it. It seems like they ought to be able to do it with just one. (Yeah, THAT's what concerns me the most about this movie.)

Anonymous said...

You're amazing, Brian. As much as I will never ever watch any of the movies featured on this blog (well... not unless one of them has Justin Chambers in it), I love your reviews. I think Siskel or Ebert or whoever is still alive better watch out. His job's in jeopardy :)


Anonymous said...

I was sold by the end of the first paragraph! What think you of the transformation scene in Company of Wolves?

brian said...

I liked Company of Wolves. Something about Angela Lansbury scares the hell out of me. I haven't seen it in a while, however, and am struggling to remember the transformation scene. Does it involve the wolf parts breaking out of the skin from underneath? Or, am I thinking of a different film?

brian said...


Come on! Obviously you need ten hairs because if you needed anything less than 5, Sam would have been out of there in about 30 seconds. 10 hairs makes it more likely that Mitch will come home while she's still fondling his hair brush. Duh!!!

Anonymous said...

That might accurately describe Company of Wolves. I haven't seen it in years either.

Anonymous said...

Silly me!