The 2012 film Werewolf: The Beast Among Us directed by Louis Morneau (Bats, Retroactive) is entertaining hokum with a European setting that features a slight nod to the werewolf legend of old, aka Universal’s Larry Talbot (as played by Lon Chaney Jr.). The film even features a character quoting a line from the 1941 classic film The Wolf Man which declares:
Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.
– Gwen The Wolf Man (1941)
Rather interestingly, this film is also from Universal. Only in this case it is Universal 1440 Entertainment, what used to be Universal Home Entertainment, and this straight to video production joins others on the Universal assembly line of cheaply made films with one or two “names” to promote the movie.
In this instance it is Irish actor Stephen Rea (with the most impressive pedigree), who has the least amount of screen time but is crucial, sort of, to the plot, and Nia Peebles. Both have been cast to give the feature a little gravitas. Nia, who has a solid fan base from the soap The Young and the Restless as well as playing Emily Fields’ mother in Pretty Little Liars and roles from a lot of other popular TV shows, has little more to do than Rea in the film, but her character does get to play the sacrifice card.
The story of Werewolf: The Beast Among Us has surviving villagers buying the services of a Great Hunter Charles (Ed Quinn), whose profession has been passed on from his father. A werewolf has exterminated an entire village and is moving through the area killing freely. A young man Daniel (Guy Wilson) who is studying with the local doctor (Rea) wants to help. Daniel’s mother Vadoma (Peebles) has a secret and she meets with the Doc to get medication for a condition.
Charles and his band of hunters take on the challenge of killing the creature. Suspicion shifts between various characters until finally the guilty party is found and dealt with. All in all this is an entertaining little movie that does not disappoint although it does feel a little old fashioned.
The film feels like one of the old Drive-In second, or even third, features that ran before one was allowed to see the main picture. Classically referred to as ‘B’ films “Werewolf” sits easily in this category.
For all intents and purposes, the story, its action and the storyline could be termed middle of the road. There is enough action to keep things moving, enough blood and gore to hint at horror and no sex at all. (Although there is a local brothel, Daniel’s mother works there.) The kills by the beast are gory, but the camera never lingers over entrails or pools of blood. Wounds are not focussed on either.
Rather oddly, for all this lack of attention to the bloodletting, corpses are never given a close up the film got a rating of ‘R’ which really is confusing. There is no nudity and despite the MPAA saying that there is “bloody violence and grisly images throughout,” the film is pretty tame.
The film has a cast that has come predominately from television, some better known than others based on what is popular at the moment, for example Steven Bauer who plays Avi on Ray Donovan is quickly recognizable despite his character’s eyepatch. This does not harm the film at all as each performer acquitted themselves very well.
In terms of interest and pacing the movie does not bore or drag and the reveal at the end, while not surprising, is different.
Werewolf: The Beast Among Us does feel a little too tame for true horror but the film is good enough that one never feels the urge to turn it off part way through. It is solid fare with good performances and perhaps the only real complaint is that there was not enough of Nia Peebles or Stephen Rea. 3.5 out of 5 stars and the film is streaming on US Netflix at the moment. While it is not “Larry Talbot” the film is still very watchable.