Wolves (2014): The Eater of the Pack (Review)

Lucas Till as Cayden Richards

Written and directed by David Hayter (best known for voicing Solid Snake for years in the Metal Gear Solid video game franchise) Wolves was released  in 2014 and promptly panned by most critics who saw the film.  While the idea of “hillbilly” cannibal werewolves was unique some felt the film took itself too seriously.  The idea that the leader of the pack was also the “eater” of the pack may not have helped either.

Starring Lucas Till and the iconic Stephen McHattie (this prolific performer has 195 credits under his belt) and the equally prolific John Pyper-Ferguson Wolves follows adoptive son Cayden (Till) who suddenly starts going all werewolf when things get interesting. Get angry? Wolf out. Sex? Wolf out and so on.

He wakes up to find his parents murdered and strewn about the house. He goes on the run and learns where he might  find more “people” him from Wild Joe (Pyper-Ferguson). He heads to the small backwoods town of Lupine Ridge where he meets Angelina (Merritt Patterson)and  her beer loving sister Gail (Melanie Scrofano from Wynonna Earp).

Cayden also meets farmer John Tollerman (McHattie) and the alpha male of the tiny burg, Connor (Jason Momoa). Tollerman hires Cayden to work on his farm and trouble soon hunts the young man down. 

The main problem with Wolves is that it feels wrong on many levels.  Although it does entertain, which means that Hayter did his job properly, it works too hard to push past a young adult setting to play to the grownups.

There is sex and brief nudity which no doubt earned the film its R rating. There is also too little time spent on drawing Cayden as the classic “white-hat” good guy. It is hinted at with the old black and white Lone Ranger show on the telly, but the message is lost.

Wolves has a fairly cool premise.  A small burg in the middle of nowhere populated mostly by lycanthropes is an interesting concept. So too is the “pure blood” line and the “mongrels.” (Created by infecting the humans rather than being born with the “ailment” as the pedigree werewolves are.)

Till does  a good job as Cayden  and  McHattie does what he does best and adds a little gravitas to the proceedings. The story, where Connor is about to rape the last purebred female in the town, is a tad distasteful and it does deviate wildly from classic werewolf  lore. (No silver bullets needed here…)

One annoyance has to do with the werewolf “makeup”  (or more accurately the CG werewolf effect) used for the film.  The filmmakers have opted for the old fashioned “Larry Talbot” look for the transformation of the protagonists.  The film also does not spend any time on the actual change itself.

The running time  of  91 minutes feels much faster and Hayter keeps things moving at a brisk pace.  This speed of delivery may be to the film’s detriment though as it does not feel that much time is given to Till’s character in terms of development.

With a reported budget of $18 million the film looks, rather curiously, like a low budget effort.  While the  special FX are fairly well done, they are not spectacular. The stunts were impressive, although not  a lot of wire work was done.  It does beg the question of where that $18 million went.

Wolves is a solid 3 star film. It entertains, but is nothing to write home about. While all the actors acquitted themselves quite well, the story did not live up to their performances. It is streaming on US Netflix at the moment and is worth a look or two  for Stephen McHattie alone.

Wynonna Earp: I Walk the Line – Family Tree (Review)

 Wynonna Earp - Season 1

The season finale  of Wynonna Earp raised a few questions while showing  so much about the Willa and Robert backstory.” I Walk the Line” also had at least one shocking reveal and when it ended the fates of Purgatory and Wynonna seemed pretty final.  It also seems that JC  (“Right initials, wrong fella.”) paid Willa a visit or two in the family tree house.

It turns out that Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) was right not to trust big sister Willa (Natalie Krill). Stealing back Peacemaker kept Bobo (Michael Eklund) from leaving the Ghost River Triangle area. This forced Willa to show more of her true colors although Wynonna still missed the more obvious clues (such as  big sister calling the citizens of Purgatory “meat-sticks.”).

” I Walk the Line”  was a very busy episode in terms of action and reveals. For a start, Juan Carlos is not quite the “Yoda” figure he initially appeared to be.  It is clear that he was the other visitor who “made promises in the dark” to Willa. It could not have been Constance Clootie as she only turned up when the Earp heir turned 27 and that was to wipe her memory clean.

Shocking Moments in the Episode:

Learning that Robert Svane (Bobo) and Willa were lovers.  All kinds of wrong this one, despite Bobo’s protestations that he never “touched” the 13 year old child he “saved.”

Willa shooting Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). Later, the Earp heir also unblinkingly went to shoot Wynonna with Peacemaker. 

Sheriff Nedley (Greg Lawson) turning out to be a decent guy after all.

Dolls shooting Willa.

Bobo telling Waverly that she is not an Earp.

Dolls (Shamier Anderson) turning out to be some sort of monster, as hinted by Lucado.(What a b*tch she is,  eh?)

And last but not least; Waverly, after being possessed by giant Hell worm blood, shooting…Who? Wynonna? Doc?

(We become privy to the news that Ward Earp was not a nice chap. He apparently beat up on his wife on top of his penchant for making deals with revenants.  It could well be that Willa was born to go bad from the start. Certainly her personality left much to be desired, although that could be blamed on her brainwashing captor Bobo/Robert.)

There were some stand out moments as well.  The big fight at Shorty’s.  Granted we do not see any of the chaos inside the building but we do get another  glance at the yellow-eyed demon inside of Dolls.

Another noteworthy event was the climatic shootout with Bobo and his telekinetic powers. Cue one middle finger moment from the rough and tumble  Earp heir (the real one).

Peacemaker not working for Willa, after she has doomed the denizens of Purgatory and her sisters, was equally impressive. She also abandons her lover in those final moments.


It turns out that, like Waverly, we were right to dislike the eldest Earp. She may well be a tragic figure (and she is to a degree, being captured and saved by a revenant “pedo” obviously changed her a lot) but Willa would most likely never have won the Miss Congeniality award in Purgatory anyway.

Peacemaker also worked on Willa, turing blue versus red, and this must mean that she was less human and more something else. Perhaps more like Juan Carlos…Or not.

And who is Juan Carlos? Or more accurately, perhaps, what is he. More powerful than Bobo and able to step outside the triangle with impunity, JC is a major player apparently. Rather interestingly, when Wynonna cocks and points Peacemaker at Juan Carlos it does not emit a color.  Willa made it turn blue and revenants are red.  No color at all for Juan…

The End:

By the end of the episode, Dolls is taken by Lucado to a black site as punishment for interfering. Wynonna shoots Bobo/Robert and sends him to hell moments after he crosses the Ghost River Triangle line. Waverly touches the worm blood and becomes possessed and then pulls a gun and shoots either her sister or Doc.

(Something  to consider: That rumbling heard by Doc (Tim Rozon) and Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) as Waverly turns may be the tomahawk missiles ordered by Lucado prior to Wynonna shooting Bobo. If this is the case then Purgatory and our heroine are doubly damned in this huge cliffhanger ending.)

Kudos to the entire cast here. Rozon was superb as Holliday. He gave his character a truth that sold the concept of Doc as flawed hero, making him a perfect match for Wynonna who,  as we all know, is flawed as well.

Scrofano was perfect as Wynonna another case of the actor filling her role with enough humor and pathos to make it feel real. Provost-Chalkley made us love Waverly; who was a mixture of eager enthusiasm and angst.

Mad props to Michael Eklund as Bobo Del Ray/Robert Svane. The actor managed to make us feel a bit upset at his death despite his character’s very unhealthy obsession with the Earp girls.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1
Michael Eklund as Bobo Del Ray

If Wynonna Earp comes back, if Purgatory and our heroine did not meet a sticky end by the hands of possessed Waverly or Lucado, we will be eagerly looking forward to her next set of adventures.


Wynonna Earp: House of Memories – Origami Promises (Review)

 Wynonna Earp - Season 1

This penultimate episode of “Wynonna Earp” continues revealing more about Willa and in the tree house of memories the eldest Earp heir has visions of origami promises.  Dolls regresses Willa who has memories of the house and of the night she was taken.

At the start of the episode Wynonna and Willa are questioning Whiskey Jim (who Willa calls Bourbon Bob) and the eldest heir shoots the revenant when he is too slow to answer.  Wynonna is not pleased as “he was not ours to kill.”

The eldest Earp is rather nasty to Nicole Haught and Waverly still does not trust the newly returned Willa.  Bobo’s poison maker, Bubba, was the revenant who kidnapped Doc and he  holds the gunman prisoner while he perfects the formula. He also gets Holliday to give him knife throwing lessons.

Dolls and Wynonna do some investigation and Willa walks in on Nicole and Waverly’s make-out session in the barn.  Back at the revenant questioning Wynonna tries to shoot a biker demon and Peacemaker fizzles out.

One of the bikers, who made up the wet team meant to kill Dolls, reveals that Judge Cryderman (David LeReaney) ordered the hit.  Doc’s burnt out Caddy is found with no sign of the gunman anywhere.  Bobo approaches Willa with the lure of a blue swan origami figure. Waverly shoots the demon and sends him away. 

Doc learns from Bubba who he is working for and what the demon is making. He also learns that the whole town is meant to die.

Wynonna and Dolls find Cryderman who is trying to hang himself.  He tells the U.S. Marshal that Bobo forced his hand and this was why he attempted to kill Dolls.  He tells them about he party that Del Rey invited the entire town to at the Wainwright Hotel.

As the two black badge agents go to leave Cryderman blows his brains out. Doc witness the effect of the poison and is horrified.

Willa and Waverly find the treehouse where the young Willa was held captive. There are blue origami figures everywhere and Willa remembers Constance Clootie erasing her memory and freeing her.  She also has flashbacks of Bobo Del Rey being in the house with her.

Another memory is that Willa witnessed her father make a deal with Bobo about the lead and leaving the Ghost River Triangle. Ward Earp was meant to walk Bobo out of the Triangle and Wynonna finds the letter outlining what was the lead is.

Doc gets loose and kills Bubba.

Waverly and Nicole meet up at the party and a drunken Champ become belligerent. Willa urges Waverly to celebrate and drink the champagne.  She also works hard at being nice to the youngest Earp.  Wynonna sneaks in with Peacemaker.

She hands the gun over to Willa and Waverly is clearly uncomfortable with this decision.   Later, Wynonna  meets with Dolls who is impressed with her outfit. She shows him the letter to Robert Svane from Wyatt and the document explains everything.

For the revenants to leave, the Earp heir has to willing escort the demons across the line. Ward Earp made the deal  to do that and Bobo took Willa as insurance causing everything fell apart. After learning about the letter, Willa once again urges the group to drink the champagne.

Champ verbally accosts Haught and the sheriff tells him off. He reacts badly, breaking his champagne flute and foaming at the mouth.  Haught clotheslines the young man and handcuffs him. Wynonna tells Dolls about Peacemaker failing and her disappointment at Willa obviously being the heir.

Dolls and Wynonna kiss just as Doc arrives. Holliday smells the champagne and realizes that Bobo has poisoned it. The revenant arrives, wearing latex arm length  gloves, and informs the townspeople that they will go crazy and die. He does tell the group that they will get the antidote if they bring Wynonna to him dead or alive.

Waverly and Willa go to leave and they get separated when they bump into Nicole. Willa meets Bobo, aka Robert Svane, and she hands him a blue swan origami figure. They hold hands and start walking down the road.

“Wynonna Earp” this week sets a lot of things in motion and reveals a few more interesting things about the verse. For example, there appears to be a bit of a bromance going on between Doc and Dolls. Another reveal is that Waverly clearly does not trust Willa.

(We do not trust the eldest Earp girl either and that was before she walked off hand-in-hand with Robert “Bobo Del Rey” Svane at the end.)

Ward Earp sold out his family name to keep his kids safe and then lost Willa anyway and then was shot by his middle daughter Wynonna.  This lead to a break in the curse until Wynonna came back to Purgatory.

In terms of performances, Tim Rozon is still brilliant at playing Holliday and Shamier Anderson was great at making Dolls more “human” for a change. Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell could get the award for best couple in a television series.Melanie Scrofano was touching in the scene where she believes that not being the heir means becoming “normal” again. 

Kudos to Natalie Krill who is killing it as the Earp heir we love to hate and Michael Eklund was superb as always.  (Question: What was the deal with those elbow length “gimp gloves?” Bobo wears them at the party and then moments later when he meets Willa, they are gone. Come on Michael, or anyone else, spill.)

Next week is the finale and judging from what we have seen thus far, fans better watch this season’s last episode sitting down. “Wynonna Earp” finishes next Friday on SyFy, get ready to hold onto your hats.

Wynonna Earp: Landslide – All About Willa (Review)

Wynonna Earp - Season 1

At the risk of sounding like Arthur Bach (from the 1981 film Arthur  who slurs “Don’t you hate  Perry’s wife?”); don’t you hate Wynonna’s older sister? Humorless and pretty much a total “Type A” personality who dismisses Waverly completely,  the eldest Earp girl Willa, aka Eve in “Landslide”  is not just spacey but annoying.

This week’s episode is pretty much all about Willa; fitting back in, ignoring or dissing Waverly, being snotty to Dolls and arguing with Wynonna.  There is a side trip where Doc’s exodus has been cut short by a malfunctioning fan belt  and is rescued by a mysterious older gent named Juan Carlo (Shaun Johnstonwho “just is.”

The enigmatic savior/mechanic tells Doc that he has to choose a side. With fours days till the solstice, if Holliday does not opt to fight the dark, Wynonna will lose, even with his help.

Bobo uses one of his human lapdogs; Judge Cryderman (David LeReaneyto secure what look like jade crystals. Cryderman is also responsible for setting up marks for the high stakes poker spectacular and the judge takes it on himself to get rid of the black badge brigade and Wynonna. He also sets free two vampire revenants to kill the potential poker players (Cryderman calls the rich players whales.) and take their poker stake.

There is a lot going on here in Purgatory.  Waverly, it seems,  is not the only Earp sister to have a connection with Bobo Del Ray (Michael Eklund). Bobo approached “Waves” when she was little before the attack on the homestead to place the talisman that would allow the revenants to come on the Earp’s property. 

Now that Willa is back, it is easy to see how lonely the young Waverly must have been. Both Wynonna and Will excluded their little sister, mainly because they felt a closer connection and acted like typical older siblings. The exclusion has begun anew with the eldest’s return but it looks like Bobo  also has a connection with Willa.

The revenant leader saves her life and Willa returns the favor when Wynonna starts to send Bobo back to Hell.

Willa, after being in a “hippy cult in the woods,” returns and after some amnesia-like tendencies touches Peacemaker and has the first flashback; Ward Earp teaching her about killing demons.

All too quickly Willa places herself in charge and accuses Dolls of not only being a “buzzkill” but believes he has brainwashed Wynonna as well.  Big sis asks Waverly about her funeral and gives back attitude when the marshmallow story is told.  Voice dripping with sarcasm Willa then asks who they buried in their daddy’s coffin.  “Daddy,” Waverly says somberly.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1
Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley)

It has to be admitted that Willa may be able to shoot as well as her sister Wynonna Earp, which makes sense as she is the real heir, but she has a lot of pent up, and not so pent up hostility and the eldest definitely has no time for Waverly.  Were it not for Dolls, the youngest would feel like a total outcast…again.

To be fair to Willa, in her flashback it looked like her daddy Ward Earp was a pretty harsh taskmaster.  (Interestingly,  the original heir reveals to Wynonna that their father knew the attack was coming and told her, Willa, not to worry and to stay calm. Looks like Wynonna’s shooting of Ward Earp interrupted some planned event which may also explain Bobo’s connection to the eldest.)

While the Earp family struggle to adapt to Willa’s return Cryderman sends a wet team to take out Dolls and anyone else who may be around him.  The black ops mercenaries set up outside the homestead and start shooting.

Dolls tells Waverly to hide (“I wish people would stop saying that to me,”  says Waverly through gritted teeth) and she crawls into the kitchen. Pulling a sawn off shotgun from under the table, the youngest Earp gets the line of the episode as she fires her weapon out the window:

“Eat sh*t! Sh*t-eaters!”

Out in the barn, where Wynonna went after an argument with Willa (who followed to set things right) the two older Earp sisters watch the men shooting up their house.

Wynonna: “Lucky for us, they don’t know we’re in here.”

Willa: “Take ’em by surprise?”

Wynonna (growling her response): “Get out of my head!” 

The beginning of the end of the shootout starts when Willa and Wynonna come out with automatic weapons and start cleaning house.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1
Wynonna and Willa heating things up.

Leaving the main Willa plot-line for a moment, Dolls shows once more how different he is from both revenants and humans. Clearly there is something in his blood (?) either controlled by the injections or placed there by same. The vampire twins recognize his power and that he has something “dark inside.”

Doc, whose pink vehicle is repaired by Juan Carlo, breaks down again and as he pops the bonnet (hood) to see the damage he is knocked unconscious by a figure in silhouette and dragged away from the front of the car.

Waverly is shot. “It’s okay, you’ll be okay. It’s just a graze,” says Doll’s soothingly. “Just??” says Waverly disbelievingly.  These two have bonded  in this episode as Dolls sees much of the issues the three siblings seem to have and clearly he is not a huge Willa fan either.

Earlier Dolls tells Waverly, “It’s okay if you don’t like her you know.”  The youngest Earp girl explains that she does not really know Willa. But, we feel her pain, we do not like Willa either.  For a gal that was trapped in a cult for years and was brainwashed to boot, her instant take charge attitude and dismissiveness toward Waverly does not put her in our good graces…at all.

With Bobo’s big party, the one he orders Cryderman to throw, perhaps the connection will become clearer. “Wynonna Earp” airs Fridays on SyFy. Tune in to see what will become of Doc and just what Bobo Del Ray really means to the Earp clan.


Wynonna Earp: She Wouldn’t be Gone – Willa? (Review)

Wynonna Earp - Season 1

“She Wouldn’t be Gone” is a pretty busy episode. Wynonna Earp and Doc’s secret sex tryst is out and Bobo now has Shorty’s (Gus’ bar) saloon. The Earp girls go down to “confront” Bobo and his gang of revenants and plant a microphone on the golden boot stationed at the bar. For a brief time they learn a few things of importance, one piece of information is that Bobo has an enemy; Lou.

Bobo finds the mic and relays the news that Doc Holliday has been stabling his “130 year old mustang” in Wynonna’s “ample paddock.” Dolls is not amused. Earp babbles and skirts the issue of having sex with Doc. Whiskey Jim is approached by Bobo and told that he needs to start giving Dolls information.

After confessing to Waverly that she and Doc have been having sex, Wynonna gives Holliday  the Stone Witch’s pink car.  She reveals that everyone knows they have been having sex and Earp reminds Doc that it is just sex and not a relationship.

Wynonna discovers the existence of Whiskey Jim and she helps Dolls question the revenant.  They learn more about Lou and that he hangs out in  the haunted Pine Barrens. The two go to the woods and get separated. Wynonna meets Lou and a group of his acolytes.  Earp is indoctrinated into his order.

Wynonna makes a connection with one girl in particular who is called Eve (Natalie Krill). Dolls is brought in and held captive. Wynonna escapes and releases her boss. They are caught by Lou and the young women who follow him. Lou marks their faces, like the young lady who is killed by a wolf at the start of the episode, and releases them  separately.

Wynonna goes back to look for Dolls who has rushed to his SUV for another injection. (Something is clearly wrong with the  US Marshall as he desperately injects himself and his eyes change again.)  Doc gets a ticket from Haught for driving without a license and Waverly wants to know why he is leaving.  Doc hints that it is because he believes that  Wynonna has no feelings for him. Now that Clootie has been vanquished, Holliday believes his usefulness is over.

Dolls and Wynonna meet up, he has rescued the Peacemaker and they head back to release the women and kill Lou.  Back at the house in woods, Lou has marked all his followers for death and gets ready to leave. Only Eve realizes that he has been lying to them and means to kill them all.

Earp and Dolls arrive and while he hides the girls from Lou’s skin-walker, Wynonna and Eve go to stop Lou (Gord Rand) from escaping on the snowmobile.  As the two confront Lou, who is also called Yiska, a huge bear comes up from behind and knocks the buntline special from Wynona’s hand. 

She shouts for Eve to grab the gun and stop Lou.  Eve finds Peacemaker in the snow, picks it up and points it at the fleeing revenant. The barrell begins to glow and she pulls the trigger sending Lou back to hell. The giant bear turns into a Navajo woman who thanks Wynonna before running away and Earp is stunned that Eve could use her weapon.

Back at the station, Dolls gives Wynonna some backstory on Lou and his first wife, a Navajo horse whisperer who was a skin-waker.  The young women all have someone to collect them, except for Eve. Earp invites the woman to stay with her at the homestead. The two arrive and Waverly attempts to explain about Doc leaving. Wynonna tells Waverly to wait and introduces Eve.

Gus comes out with a bottle of beer in her hand to tell the Earp girls to come in. Dropping the bottle when she spots Eve, Gus says, “Willa.”

“Wynonna Earp”  and “She Wouldn’t be Gone ” took a magical mystery tour approach to the revenant problems this week.  The skin-walker was a nice twist and Dolls apparently still has his problem.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1
Dolls meets the wolf.

(It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Is Dolls a demon-ish thing fighting evil, or are the injections a means of giving him demon strength that is addictive, hence the sweating and withdrawal symptoms when he gets low. It could well be like the potion in “Twins Effect” – aka “The Vampire Effect” –  or some sort of addictive aid, like the doomed FBI agent had to take  in the video game Heavy Rain. Only time, and more episodes, will clear this one up.)

Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and Officer Haught (Katherine Barrell) are now an item but Doc (Tim Rozon) has departed  in the pick Cadillac.   Bobo (Michael Eklund) continues to play his revenge game with Wynonna.

Of course the big shocker of the episode was the Eve/Willa reveal. Is this woman found in the Pine Barren really Willa? It would explain why the Peacemaker worked but it does not explain how the oldest Earp sister could be alive.

Moreover, if Willa has been alive all these years, how is Wynonna the heir? Is it not the eldest who wields Peacemaker to send the revenants back to hell?  The revenants, the original seven, all taunted Wynonna about the death of Willa and how she took days to die. Was this a lie and if so, how could Earp use Peacemaker to kill revenants at all. If Eve is Willa then she should be the heir and only she should be able to dispatch the demons.

“Wynonna Earp” airs Fridays on SyFy.  This variation on a theme (in many ways this does feel a little like a Buffy redux) is pretty interesting stuff. It may be a bit  low budget but the actors all bring much to the table and the scripts, which do occasionally misfire ever so slightly (See what we did there?) are interesting enough to keep tuning back in for.

If you want to know whether Eve is Willa or not you will have to tune in next Friday.  Enjoy.

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