The Surprise Werewolf Film that Isn’t.
As a horror filmmaker, I am blessed and cursed by being in the industry. The blessing is being a part of the creative process, where I can help bring terror to the screen, I get to build scary sets, sometimes I get to throw blood at half naked screaming people (it’s the little things in life). The curse is there’s a part of my brain that *will not shut off*. I cannot enjoy a film, I’m always analyzing every aspect of it. I keep thinking things like “does that camera angle tell the story” or “did that actress make a strong choice” or “did I just see the zipper running down that monster’s back?” and as such, I can’t just get immersed in a film enough to let all that go. I’m also constantly looking out for red flags, and as soon as I see one, that’s usually when my little lizard brain starts savaging a production for all the terrible mistakes it makes, even if I don’t know enough to know how to do it better.
The first red flag for this film was that same red flag that warns others of the terrible quality of an indie horror film. When someone lists themselves in multiple roles, that’s normally a sign of an egomaniac that refuses to relinquish control of their project, or it’s the first hint that you’re about to get dragged for two hours through someone’s vanity project. I knew nothing of Jim Cummings, but seeing his name on the movie poster three times sank my expectations. That being said, the trailer was enough to entice me to give this a shot.
The risk came with great reward. Mr. Cummings is highly talented in each role, and this was not about not being able to let go of the story, it was about knowing exactly how to tell his story in the best way possible.
This film is a dark comedy that satisfied both ends of the genre from beginning to end. The best of both worlds collided with the entire cast being caught in the middle, and the results were both surprisingly touching, and incredibly haunting. The hallmark of good acting is when a character elicits intimate emotions from the audience, and each relationship on the screen succeeded in each department. Each character was flawed, and I felt each flaw. As the tension rose in the growing murder mystery of this small ski-resort town, the anxiety levels doubled and sometimes trippled. The emotional rollercoaster of the main characters because a train wreck, but the good kind of train wreck where you can’t look away, no matter how much blood is painted on the rails.
The emotional investment was in full swing so quickly and easily, and it maintained that level of pressure that as the credits rolled I suddenly realized that the immersion I always so desperately need from my horror movie joy happened. There was not a single poor edit, bad choice, or terrible camera movement that pulled me out of the story.
The machinery ran smoothly. Everything was flawless. Or at the very least even with my high level of critical assessment, I couldn’t find a flaw to start with. I may be able to levee a single complaint, and that might be I was lied to (mind you, the film was honest about how it was lying to me, so it’s my fault for believing otherwise), but at the same time, some of the best stories we hear about in our lives are lies as well.
And like most good stories (and especially like the town this film takes place in), it ends where it ends, and there’s no need or reason to go back.
Which is fine, this film now lives perfectly in that memory, and like any good road trip, I look forward to what’s at the next exit. I won’t go back, but I’ll gleefully recommend this stop to the next guy I run into heading that way, and I look forward to hearing what they say about it for themselves.