Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shows how to kill a werewolf movie series quicker than using silver bullets

Howling V: The Rebirth (1989)
Starring: Philip Davis, Victoria Catlin, Elizabeth Shé, Ben Cole
William Shockley, Stephanie Faulkner and Mark Sivertsen
Director: Neal Sundstrom
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A group of idiots wander around a Romanian castle as a werewolf kills them, one by one.

"Howling V: The Rebirth" isn't Ed Wood level bad, but it is bad. Its basic story is like "The Beast Must Die!" (review here) where a group of people are invited to an isolated location because one of their humber is secretly werewolf and another among them wants to kill the werewolf, but doesn't know which of them it is. Unfortunately, in this instance, the storyline is badly executed in just about every conceivable way, starting with the fact that the werewolf hunter wasn't prepared in any way, shape, or form to actually hunt and kill the werewolf, despite the fact he presents himself as a member of a global secret society created for just purpose.

To make matters even worse, It features terrible set design and a badly thought-out environment in which it takes place (supposedly, it happens in a castle that's been "sealed" for 500 years, yet the entire structure is in perfect shape, right down to the bearskin runs, wooden breezeways, and lit torches in secret tunnel), an utterly predictable script that only works because of a heavy use of Stupid Character Syndrome throughout, and a werewolf elimination game that ultimately makes no sense because, again, the werewolf hunter just guesses randomly at who the monster is and overlooks the most obvious of all suspects like everyone else in the film. (And I can't even figure out why he picks that particular person.)

And the ultimate flaw is that the film is never truly scary. There are a few suspenseful moments, but they are too brief and too few to make up for all the other weaknesses.

I'm not sure where the writers (of the script, or of the novel upon which it is based got their inspiration, but I think they would have done well to watch some Scoobie-Doo cartoons. At least the conspirators in those cartoons are always well prepared, foiled only by those meddling kids. If The Martyrs, the secret society of werewolf hunters in this film, had bothered to put up some cameras or motion detectors or maybe even bring some real weapons, the proceedings might have been more interesting. (Of course, maybe the fact they call themselves The Martyrs is a clue to why they go about their werewolf hunting business is such a stupid fashion.)

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