THE HOWLING REBORN
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
In some ways, “The Howling” reminds me of “Hellraiser.” Both were classic 80s horror films. Both were violent and edgy upon their original release. And both have an unbelievably long string of direct-to-video sequels behind them. Though unlike the “Hellraiser” series, the “Howling” sequels were dormant for about 15 years.
Their resurrection has happened this year with “The Howling Reborn.” This installment finds new blood in high school, where high school senior Will Kidman (Landon Liboiron) notices that he’s feeling a little funny when he gets excited by his crush (Lindsey Shaw). Soon, he discovers that he has the blood of a werewolf in his veins, and his birth mother (a superstar in the werewolf community) starts to track him down.
While this is far from a good movie, there are some things I can respect about it. First, it’s trying to restart the franchise, even if it is just on DVD and Blu-ray. There’s potential for a whole ongoing story, and they even hint at this near the end of the film. Also, I respect the fact that they didn’t rehash the original film in any way. I also like the use of practical werewolf effects (which look remarkably like the ones in Joe Dante’s classic).
However, there are problems, too, staring with the cast. As a lead, Liboiron is a dead fish. He’s a dead fish on “Terra Nova,” and he’s a dead fish with claws and silky coat of werewolf fur. Lindsay Shaw may be trying to break out of her Nickelodeon roots with TV series like “Pretty Little Liars” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” but her girl-next-door appeal holds her back from being the would-be temptress they want her to be in this film.
AT least Ivana Milicevic is in this film. Not only is she beautiful, but she has embraced her genre fanbase, and she’s not afraid to gore it up. I’ve always like Milicevic as an actress and a scream queen. She’s game for the role, and she’s quite easy on the eyes.
But in the end, “The Howling Reborn” is loaded with silliness. There’s logic holes the size of a wolf bit. There’s cheesy acting all around. And the film tries to distance itself from “Twilight” by snarking that they’re not sparkly vampires, but at the same time it tries all the same tricks, including the morose soundtrack, the washed-out cinematography and the overload of teen know-it-all angst.
Still, I’d watch another “Howling” movie if it came across my desk.
The Blu-ray includes an audio commentary with director Joe Nimziki and actor Lindsey Shaw, a storyboard gallery and a “The Making of The Howling Reborn” featurette.