Sarah Tyler returns to her troubled family home in the isolated countryside, for a much put-off visit. As a storm rages outside, Sarah, her family and friends shore up for the night, cut off from the outside world. But something comes out of the driving rain and darkness. Something that holds a dark secret so devastating that, in one night, it could wipe out the entire family.
Why is it so difficult to make a great werewolf movie? In my opinion, there is only a very small handful. For me, “Dog Soldiers”, “An American Werewolf in London”, “Ginger Snaps”, “The Howling”, and “The Company of Wolves” are the standard to which I compare to. Now that isn’t to say there aren’t any other good ones but to me they are somehow flawed. I thought “An American Werewolf in Paris” was a great follow-up, but the horrible CGI creations ruined it. Another notable mention is Eric Red’s “Bad Moon”, a fantastic film but I hated the transformation. Some will argue that the “Underworld” films were great to which I disagree.
I enjoy the action aspects of the series but as far as it being horror is just a ludicrous notion. And yes, I hate the werewolf, uh oops, I mean Lycan transformations in them as well. So I approach werewolf films with a bit of hesitation since I am a bit harder to please than most. From the UK comes “Night Wolf, a film that really has so much going for it that it could have been classic if only they had made a few different choices than they had.
Sarah Tyler (Isabella Calthorpe) is returning to her family in the countryside after having spent the last 8 months living in the United States. It doesn’t take long to realize that her family isn’t living happily ever after. After a brief chat with her step-dad, she finds that her mother isn’t at home and that her brothers are out in the barn partying. While she is catching up, a storm starts brewing and the electricity is lost. When they get to the house, Sarah and her crew find out that there is something in their home that’s hunting them down. And it’s far from human…
First thing I want to say is that I REALLY HATE the title “Night Wolf”. It really doesn’t have much to do with the film and the original title, “13 Hours” is much more fitting and less revealing. With that out of the way, “Night Wolf” is a really solid film. The pacing is just right. You can feel a sense of tension that builds throughout the film. Not only from the creature that lurks somewhere within the house but from the core group of characters that have many secrets and grudges with one another. The cast is terrific and the acting above average. It was a refreshing change to see a horror film that really spends much of the runtime building character. The characters feel real and the conflict between them is the core of the story.
If you are a bit squeamish, then I would guess that this is a film for you. Aside from one great exploding head gag, there is very little blood and guts here. And yes, it really did bother me. If there had been just a bit more carnage I would have literally flipped out over “Night Wolf”. Much of the effects, if not all were practical effects and they looked great, especially the creature. There just wasn’t enough of it. For many, there will be enough, me, I was just looking to be blown away and I wasn’t. I was actually a bit disappointed since I felt it was seriously lacking in a department that could have delivered.
Overall, “Night Wolf” is actually a really good film. Director Jonathan Glendening does a terrific job of building tension and setting up atmosphere. The cast nails their roles and are great to watch. The creature design is fun and original. BUT (yes, I have a BIG but) the lack of any real visual carnage left me a little let down. Still, a very good film that does manage to suck you in and would be ridiculous of me not to recommend to you ***1/2 (out of 5).
Night Wolf (2010)