Thursday, June 11, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: WOLVES (2014)

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MOVIE INFO

Popular high school student Cayden Richards wakes from a horrific nightmare, only to realize that he's living it... He is changing into something vicious, unpredictable and wild. Forced to hit the road after the brutal murder of his parents, Cayden tries to hunt down the truth of what he is. In the remote, mountain town of Lupine Ridge, he discovers others like him - Including the beautiful Angelina, a young woman caught between two ancient clans of "wolves". And when he finally discovers the shocking truth behind his ancestry, Cayden realizes there is only one way to save the woman he loves... a grisly fight to the death against forces more savage than he could have ever imagined. (C) Ketchup

Rating: R (for bloody violence throughout, and some sexuality)
Genre: Action & Adventure Directed By: David Hayter Written By: David Hayter In Theaters: Nov 14, 2014 Limited On DVD: Jan 19, 2015 Runtime: 1 hr. 31 min. Ketchup Entertainment - Official Site

Movies with teens always have a school hallway scene and a football scene, right? 


Another Teen Movie with Supernatural/Mythical Theme? Aren't we tired of another Twilight already?

Okay, so this movie sets sort of a landmark for this pokey little movie review blog. The only reason I saw this movie is because last week I received an email from my favorite Multiplex Cinema chain inviting me to a press only preview screening for it. If I had to pay for this I probably wouldn't. It would also have probably completely gone under the radar for me too. Honestly I didn't even know this movie existed until I got that email. And part of the reason why I didn't even know about this movie is probably because it didn't actually get a worldwide or even get a nationwide US release, it just got a limited release and as of early this year this movie has been available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the US and Germany. So for a movie to not get a wide release and goes straight to DVD and Blu-Ray within months probably says something about this movie. In fact, after watching this movie I'm not too sure why there was a press only screening or even why our local distributors think it's a good idea to bring it to our shores.

So on to the usual routine where I try to remember what I saw on the screen. Or you can just read the full plot on the Wikipedia page for it HERE. (WARNING IF YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO SEE THIS MOVIE THEN THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. IF YOU'VE ALREADY SEEN IT THEN GO RIGHT ON AHEAD)

Also if there's a werewolf or a vampire involved someone dies a bloody death or the lead roles will find a loved one dying in a gruesome way. 

Okay, so it begins with our lead character Cayden (Lucas Till) who is the high school's quarterback at a game. He's headbutted in the face quite hard and then the perpetrator walks off taunting the crowd. This ticks off Cayden who goes into a rage and unleashes a barrage of punches at the perpetrator's head so hard that it not only knocks him out but makes a pretty big dent in his helmet. Next you see him at home having a nightmare about his home being broken into by some sort of growling creature. Then you see him in front of a school counselor or something who is chiding him for his behavior not only on the football field but also for his grades which are starting to drop. Next up he's in the car with his girlfriend and they're talking about what teenagers about to go to college talk about. But Cayden isn't really interested since he has a headache which his girlfriend thinks will go away if they make out. While making out something in Cayden begins to awaken. No not that you pervert. The part that makes him a werewolf begins to stir and he bites on his girlfriend's lips and then begins to get aggressive which panics her. He runs back home.

At home he has apparently passed out only to awaken all covered in blood. There's also blood all over the floor leading to his parents bedroom. There he finds their mutilated bodies. Coincidentally, the police show up with his girlfriend to check up on him after his assault on her.So he bolts. Makes a run for it. He lives on the lamb for a while. Caught in a sort of crisis. He has this new found, powers? abilities? Well, whatever you want to call it. He wants to do something positive with it since he believes it's because of those powers that caused him to kill his parents but then he doesn't want to kill anyone else since he can't control it. Bit of a conundrum huh? So he goes from place to place avoiding the police manhunt that's after him. His one attempt at saving someone does end up with him killing the attackers and that puts him in a deeper rut.

The werewolf make-up isn't all that bad but it isn't scary either. 

He ends up one evening in a bar where he meets a man who begins to talk to him in riddles. Then he reveals himself to him. He has the same problem that Cayden has. The man calls himself Wild Joe (John Pyper-Ferguson) and Cayden presses him for more information on what he is and who he is since he's just found out that he's adopted. Wild Joe doesn't tell him in so many words but the last thing he does do is leave him a location for Cayden to head to before disappearing.

Cayden makes his way to a sleepy little town and makes his first stop at the local bar. He has a beer and is checked out by the other patrons. He's approached by a woman who decides that he's pretty good looking and deserves a date with her but Cayden refuses. A little bit later the supposed boyfriend comes over and decides he doesn't like Cayden for trying to date his girlfriend and of grabbing her tush. Cayden makes his exit calmly when said boyfriend and his other boyfriends start crowding Cayden. Later outside Cayden spots the boyfriend alone and decides to give him a scare but it turns out that boyfriend is also sort of a werewolf but when Cayden switches over and begins asking him how he became a werewolf he panics and pees himself and runs off into the woods. Just then a man shows up and offers him work on his farm.

I guess from now on Jason Momoa has to look just like that in every role, otherwise how will anyone recognize him.

So he works on John's (Stephen McHattie) farm for awhile. A couple of days later a man named Connor (Jason Momoa) comes by to ask Cayden about that little encounter Cayden had with one of his boys outside the bar that night. But John steps in before things gets too tense and claims that Cayden is his nephew. The next evening after dinner while watching TV a news report comes on about Cayden's adopted parents death. He quickly turns it off then makes an excuse to head out to the bar. As he walks towards it he is stopped by someone who tells him to leave town. That he should leave before Connor finds out who Cayden really is. Connor spots them talking from a distance.

Much later Connor and his gang corner the man that warned off Cayden and begin to question him. Done with the questioning Connor gives him a short head start before him and his gang begin hunting him down. As Cayden is riding back to the farm he hears screams and stops to walk into the woods to find out.Walking towards it he spots the young owner of the bar by the road. She says she wants to check something out, she leads him to the edge of a cliff that overlooks a camping site. There Connor and his gang are eating the man they were chasing.

So a young girl inherits a bar in the middle of nowhere who's patrons are half good and half bad. That's not stereotypical of these movies at all. 

Back at the farm John tells him everything about his past. Cayden finds out the story of the werewolves, how the original line diluted themselves by pairing up with humans. How werewolves come to be either by being born from purebred werewolves, by mating with humans or by being beaten. Each in turn is weaker than the one before. He also finds out that Connor is his father and that Connor forced himself on his mother. That her mother's pregnancy was hidden from Connor until he was born and given away for adoption. That his mother killed herself soon after giving birth to him. Also that Connor began to go crazy after being arrested for forcing himself on his mother. And lastly that Connor wants to mate with Angel (Merritt Patterson) the owner of the bar and one of the last purebred female werewolves.

The next day Cayden and Angel get to talking and she instructs him on being a werewolf. On how to control it. And for whatever reason they end up in the barn talking about how Cayden changes into a werewolf every time he gets horny. This news is apparently a turn on for Angel and they begin to do it in the hayloft, ripping at each others clothes and transforming into werewolves while they're at it.

This is Jason Momoa's character as a werewolf, except that he looks more like a bear or a badger than a wolf. 

Later that evening John calls a meeting of the last of the purebreds to talk about how to handle Connor and the situation that Cayden has brought to their doorstep. They all agree to give Angel to Connor and to hand over Cayden to Connor. Cayden disagrees and heads over to Connor's camp site to have a talk with Connor and his gang. There he tells Connor about what he just learns and then they have a fight. The fight leaves Cayden broken and battered but that doesn't last long as just turning into a werewolf fixes everything. Once the bruises and broken bones have been sorted out Cayden comes up with a plan to stop Connor and his gang.

A few days later as Cayden is finishing up with his plan to stop Connor and gang, Connor comes by and kidnaps Angel, John and his wife. Cayden tracks them down back to the campsite and takes out the gang members out one by one until he gets to the campsite. Once at the campsite he taunts Connor and his gang while Angel escapes her bonds and releases the others. Cayden then leads them back to the farm. Where he and John take out the members one by one with booby traps and gunshots to the head until only Connor is left. They fight and Cayden leaves Connor battered but refuses to kill him. Just then Wild Joe shows up and reveals to all that he's been manipulating Cayden since he found out that Cayden is Connor's son. It was Wild Joe that killed Cayden's parents. Why you ask has Wild Joe done all that he's done? To get revenge on Connor for killing his brother. The revelation that Wild Joe killed his parents enrages Cayden but since he can't force himself to willingly kill anyone so instead he maneuvers Wild Joe over one of the booby traps and blows him up. I guess that's different.

With the bad guys gone Cayden and Angel decide to hit the road to find themselves for a while. John gives them and old parchment with a family tree of all the purebreds.

The end.

According to this movie for werewolf to feel alive and in touch with it's animal self all they need to do is run. Also running can heal any wounds no matter how severe.

So IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a pretty bad rating. Is it that bad?

Well, yes. It is pretty bad. Straight to DVD bad. Let's begin with the story. It's like a story cobbled together by someone who saw all the bad and good werewolf story then ran it through a Buffy the Vampire Slayer filter. There wasn't a single moment throughout this film that didn't make me think I was watching a made for TV movie. The story is predictable. The characters stereotyped. You know who each of the characters are and what they're about and how they'll contribute just by looking at them. This movie would only be considered interesting if you had a lobotomy. And this movie was actually written by David Hayter who also helped write X-Men, The Scorpion King, X2: X-Men United and Watchmen. Granted the first three weren't super good but Watchmen was and even when you compare the bad ones on the list I just gave to this movie, this movie would win hands down. I would believe it if someone told me that Hayter wrote the script for this well before any of the other stuff his worked on or while he was in high school.

Then let's go on to the acting. Again, nothing impressive at all. Nor even interesting. The lead is about as good as you'd expect from these kinds of movies that seem to target teenagers more than anyone else. You could say that that's because the cast is young and new. Sure why not. Stephen McHattie you'll probably recognize as well as his character since he basically plays the same sort in all his roles. The only other actor you'd probably recognize, if you're a Game of Thrones fan or have been following the progress of the upcoming Superman movie, is Jason Momoa. He played the very popular character named Khal Drogo in the Game of Thrones series and will be playing the role of Aquaman in the next Superman movie. I have to admit he was pretty good but it wasn't good enough to help the movie in anyway.

So Connor has kidnapped these guys and put them in a cage. Not sure why he's dressed like a campy carnival master of ceremonies though.

Now on to the visual. First the camera work. It seemed to me like someone was trying too hard to make things look cool visually but still for whatever reason it just didn't improve things. Also even with those cool angles and shots it still looked like a made for TV movie. Then there's the practical effects used on the actors when they become werewolves. It's not exactly bad, they've done a pretty good job at it but instead of looking vicious and animal like all it did was remind me of Beast in the X-Men movies crossed over with the costumes that cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats musical. It just looked silly. Not scary or impressive just silly.

All in all this movie was just not worth the time or money which luckily for me I only wasted my time. This movie should only be watched if you've watched every single movie out there and are bored out of your mind and morbidly curious about it. If you haven't watched all the movies currently out there and are not bored out of your mind and not even mildly curious about it then I would suggest going for a walk in the park instead. You'll get some exercise and maybe even meet interesting people, all you'll do watching this is ask yourself why you paid for this or why you got convinced to watch it.

See what I meant about them looking like the cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats? Also she really looks like a badger. 

So basically I didn't enjoy it at all. The parts that were sort of interesting or somewhat impressive were buried under the mediocrity and predictability of the whole. So I can only give this movie a 2 out of 5.

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Still I'd like to thank TGV Cinemas for inviting me to the press screening for this movie. I just hope that they bring better movies in the future for their next press screening.



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