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John’s Horror Corner: Wer (2013), a fresh and realistic take on the werewolf concept.

November 2, 2014

   wer2013brentbellmovieposterMY CALL: A fresh and realistic take on the werewolf. It’s like no werewolf movie you’ve ever seen. I just wish it ended as awesomely as it started. MOVIES LIKE Wer: The best werewolf movies would have to be An American Werewolf in London (1981; semi-humorous), Ginger Snaps (2000; metaphoric), Dog Soldiers (2002; unconventional) and The Howling (1981; serious).  If you want another utterly ridiculous werewolf movie, then move on to Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985) and Howling 3: The Marsupials (1987).  Skip Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988), Howling V: The Rebirth (1989), Howling VI: The Freaks (1991) and The Howling: Reborn (2011). Cursed (2005; cliché-loaded and contemporary), Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004), Wolf (1994) and An American Werewolf in Paris (1997) are also worth a watch.

To start, let’s set a few things straight. I see “found footage” mentioned in a lot of reviews. This is absolutely not, nor even mistakable for, a found footage film. Second, despite the setting and some of the cast, this is not a French horror film…it’s just a horror set in France.

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After a hirsute Frenchman of unusual dimensions is taken into custody under suspicion of the “brutal animal attack-like” slaughter of an American family, skeptical attorney Kate Moore (A. J. Cook; Final Destination 2, Wishmaster 3) steps to his defense in this unusual case claiming “there’s no way he could have committed these crimes.”

Written and directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside, Stay Alive), our story revolves around the possibly porphyria-stricken Talan (first-time actor Brian Scott O’Connor). Porphyria sufferers have long weak bones and, if proven to be afflicted, he could not have possibly caused the bone-crushing fatal wounds of which he is accused. But when the soft-spoken Talan is “triggered” during a medical exam for his defense, the plotty tone phases out and the violence is graphic and intense.

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Of course, we can’t talk about a werewolf movie without addressing the transformation scene. You “hear” it as the bones violently shift in Talan’s back and wince. Some may complain that this scene is far too brief (perhaps 8 seconds), however I defend it in the spirit of subtlety and appreciate that Talan does not “grow” by a hundred pounds before our eyes nor shift form apparently. Rather we witness a truly “realistic” take on the werewolf explained by the “dog boy disease” porphyria, epileptic seizures, seizure-induced superhuman strength and lunar cycles (e.g., full moon’s effect on tides or water).

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This film’s flaws lie in the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon wire-stunt jumps and throws. Talan leaps like a superhero in a manner unmatching all things surrounding his character and throws bodies such distances that remind me more of Hulk or Thor than a seizure-strengthened mad man. Talan also seems to evade a few hundred bullets from dozen-man SWAT team by sheer fleet of foot and runs 60-70 mph in one scene…again, this just didn’t “fit” in this movie. I also really wasn’t fond of the ending–but I won’t ruin anything for you.

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But today I say “let’s forgive this film these flaws” and just enjoy it for a very different take on the werewolf movie.  The first hour of this film was pretty damn cool and in the best possible taste the word “werewolf” is hardly used.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2014 10:47 am

    I shall be checking this out brother. As always, great analysis.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      March 11, 2015 3:31 pm

      You get to this one yet?

      • March 11, 2015 10:56 pm

        Not yet my friend. Catching up on a mammoth list but it is still very much on my radar.

  2. Victor De Leon permalink
    November 3, 2014 11:06 am

    Damn, totally forgot about this one. Nice write up bro. Gotta track this one down.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      March 11, 2015 3:31 pm

      See this yet?

      • Victor De Leon permalink
        March 12, 2015 5:15 pm

        I did! Really enjoyed it. Gave it a positive review over on my site. It was pretty bad ass, imo, Hope there is more to come.

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