Alright boys and girls let me just set this up for you. A military exercise in Scotland with a squad of rookie soldiers goes very wrong when fucking werewolves come out of the woodwork and attack them. They hold up in a farm house and make a stand fighting these fuckers off throughout the night.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, “sure, that sounds good but it’s probably pretty shitty, right?” No! This is fucking great.
I mean this is essentially Night of the Living Dead but with werewolves instead of zombies. But holy shit did they up the ante. Our gang of soldiers fights the creatures off with machine guns, shotguns, handguns, grenades, swords, boiling water and blunt objects. These wolves are ferocious so you need something equally ferocious to battle them with.
And I actually wanted to see our characters survive. I cared about them man. Everyone does a bang up job but the three main dudes are especially good. Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon) plays the sergeant and he just has natural charisma. Kevin McKidd (Trainspotting, Brave) is our real hero though and rises to take command of the squad when the sarge gets injured. Like Pertwee, charm and leadership come easy. And finally Liam Cunningham (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Safe House) is the human villain. I’ll tell ya, he reminds me a lot of Powers Boothe by the way he looks and acts so of course, I really dug this guy in this role. I love how we’re set up to hate him by having him demand McKidd shoot a dog as the culmination of his training. And then when McKidd refuses Cunningham just does it himself for absolutely no reason.
But definitely the best thing about this movie is the werewolves themselves. For a long while you only get very quick glimpses of these things. There’ll be a shot of it in the shadows or a close up of its snout of something. As the film goes on you get longer and better views of the creatures and man do they look good. They’re people in full body costumes on stilts with an animatronic head. No fucking bad CGI here. And not only do I absolutely love the way these things look but I also love how they’re handled in this picture. The camera never holds too long on one of them which was the right approach. A lot of times we only see the arms and that was extremely effective. For example there’s a scene where the soldiers are running from the wolves and hop into a truck. A werewolf rams its arm through the roof swatting all around while our guys are cramped in this tight space with nowhere to go. The arm is basically a human arm but muscular, dark in color and with claws on the fingertips. It looks fucking great and kinda scary actually. This was the scene that made me realize that I had something special on my hands.
On the making of featurette on the DVD the filmmakers shit all over CGI and make the case for using practical real life effects. The producer says that people would be focused on the CGI and be in awe of it (in a good way) instead of focusing on the movie. I agree with him except for that last part. People would be in amazement of how shitty the CGI would look, not how great. But good for them for flipping that shit the ol’ bird and doing it the way it should be done even though it means more work. The filmmakers argue that they could only do the shit they wanted to do with traditional effects like punching these motherfuckin’ werewolves, stabbing them through the chest , shooting them, burning them and blowing them up. Fuckin’ a.
The director is Neil Marshall and he’s the dude that did The Descent. This was his first movie and he did a damn good job. Ok, maybe technically it’s not so great. Like he edits every scene like it’s an action scene with all quick cuts and the flow of the story for the first fifteen or twenty minutes is a little weird. But once the werewolves show up Marshall settles in nicely.
This is a low budget horror flick but Marshall makes it feel more like they had a mid level budget. He describes it as Saving Private Ryan with werewolves and he looked dead fuckin’ serious when he said it. This is totally not that. But you do get a ton of bang for your buck. And dare I say best werewolf movie ever? An American Werewolf in London is good and a better movie if you catch my drift. But I dunno guys this thing kicked fucking ass. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it.