Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gone to the dogs...

With the holidays just ending (a quick shout out to celebrate that fact), I've been trying to watch a few more movies, in particular horror.

I was really lacking in the month of December, simply because I had enough horror in every day life trying to deal with the behemoth that is the holiday season...
But in the last week, I watched two movies, both original takes on the werewolf story.

I have heard that 2009 is the year of the werewolf.

2008 was supposedly vampires, with the Twilight phenom, True Blood on HBO, and the fabulous movie based on the book of the same name: Let The Right One In. (Sadly I haven't seen the film yet, it hasn't been around here - but I say it's fab because I've only heard good things....)

But I assume the whole year of the wolf thing stems from the upcoming remake of The Wolfman (starring Benicio Del Toro and releasing in November '09) and the fact that the second Twilight film, New Moon (Nov. also), contains a major plotline involving lycanthropes/shapeshifters. I also read somewhere that there is a tv show in development about the moon-loving hairballs.

So, in that vein....

I must say neither of these movies thrilled me to pieces. They both were just mediocre. I will start with the one with the really hot dude, cause that's about all that kept me watching.

Skinwalkers (2007) is about two packs of werewolves, one good - one evil. Yeah, whatever.

The main point I need to make here is that Jason Behr (The Grudge, Roswell) is one really hot, evil werewolf. That's about all I got from this mess.

Jason Behr as "Valek"

The evil pack (who travel in a biker gang. Why? Because it's cool, right?) is trying to infiltrate the good pack because apparently there is a 12 year old boy among them that has the power (when he hits puberty or some such stupid thing) to - when the big creepy red moon comes up at midnight on the kid's 13th birthday (naturally!) - stop the evil affliction and release them from the curse.

There is something for the boys, too - Rhona Mitra stars as the boys mother, but she's pretty flat as an actress. She has never seemed realistic in anything she does. (Hope she fairs better taking over for Kate Beckinsale in the new Underworld movie - Rise of the Lycans... see, more werewolves.)

One thing that really irritated me was all the gunfire. There was more gunfighting in this movie than the shootout at the OK Corral! I mean, this is a werewolf movie. Show me some damn heads getting ripped off or something. Can't they at least bite someone? Most of the action comes when they are still human. And I guess they need guns to show who's boss. Dumb.

Basically this is one big wreck of a film. There's stuff about Native American curses, a few sex scenes, a bit of gore - and other than that, ugh.

But it was worth watching for Jason Behr, if nothing else. I've come to believe that since he can't really get a decent career off the ground, perhaps he should just model underwear...

Blood & Chocolate (2007) is even more convoluted than Skinwalkers.

It wants so much to be a Twilight-style flick for the younger generation, even though it pre-dates it more than a year - but it just doesn't get there.

Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) lives in Bucharest -that's in Romania, folks - where all the vampires come from - they couldn't even give the werewolves their own country. WTF?
She lives with an aunt because her parents are dead, killed by an nasty pack of werewolves. Vivian has her own little secret as well. Bet you can guess what it is. Yep, her time of the month is exceptionally harsh.

Aiden (Hugh Dancy, in an odd role choice) is a graphic artist traveling through Bucharest when he is bewitched by Vivian and they fall in love.
Unfortunately, Vivian is promised to the leader of the pack (please refrain from singing...), Gabriel (Olivier Martinez, who was much lovelier in 'Unfaithful'..).
Fighting ensues. Blah Blah Blah.

Basically all I can say good about this movie is this: They used real wolves instead of really bad CGI or crappy effects. It worked for me, but that's about all that did.
This movie falls flat on so many levels.

I am convinced there have only been three good werewolf movies in the last thirty years: An American Werewolf in London and The Howling (both 1981) and the under-rated and under-appreciated Dog Soldiers (2002)...
(Mini-props to Ginger Snaps (2000), I guess.)

Guess we'll see how they do with the Wolfman remake and New Moon... surely someone will get it right...
But for now, I'll just take my vampires, thanks.
Besides, not to be rude, but if you have sex with a werewolf (before he changes I hope) - does that mean you are into beastiality?
Ew. Bring on the vamps.

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