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Night Wolf (2010)
DVD Released: 4/24/2012
All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/24/2012
When most people think about child actors having difficulty, they immediately focus on things like drugs or legal problems. But, in reality, the biggest problem is finding the next thing in their career. The leap from kid roles to adult roles can be nearly impossible to make and many, many actors have, some of whom were big stars, having fallen by the wayside when trying to make this transition. It's been less than a year since theHarry Potter film series ended and now the actors from those movies, including Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, must embark on the next phase of their career. If Night Wolf is any indication, Felton is already stumbling.
As Night Wolf opens, Sarah (Isabella Calthorpe), who has been living and working in the United States, returns to her family home in England. She greets her father, Duncan (Simon MacCorkindale) and learns that her mother is out for the evening. Bidding her father good-night, she goes to the barn, where she finds her brothers -- Charlie (Gabriel Thompson), Stephen (Peter Gadiot), and Luke (Antony De Liseo) -- along with their friends Gary (Tom Felton), Doug (Joshua Bowman), and Emily (Gemma Atkinson). They are all partying and having a good time and Sarah reluctantly joins in. A few hours later, they return to the house, to find that the power is out, Duncan is dead, and some kind of monster is on the loose. They quickly make their way to the attic and attempt to formulate a plan to get to safety.
In my recent review forEnter Nowhere, I wrote that I was especially impressed with the film because Lionsgate has a track record of picking up bad horror movies for home video distribution. Night Wolf is the perfect example of the kind of low budget junk that we often get from that company.
This movie has so many problems that it's difficult to know where to start. Let's begin with the story. Other than the fact that the entire movie takes place in just one night, we don't get anything very novel here. You'll immediately note that there are too many characters and, thanks to very little character development, the four older boys are hard to tell apart. The party in the barn scene goes on for far too long. The movie thinks that it's introducing us to the characters, but it's simply killing time with dialogue scenes. Once the group returns to the house, they are in the attic in no time and they remain there for much of the movie. Going from the barn to the attic does nothing to help the movie and we are treated to even more dialogue. So, as you can tell, there isn't much story here. The group gets trapped and argues about what to do next. The movie does contain a plot twist, but I figured it our very quickly. And, as I've told you in the past, if I figure out a plot twist, it isn't a very good one. This one is further damaged by the fact that it isn't explained very well.
The story gets no help from the technical side of the movie. Not unlike fellow British horror entry Splintered, Night Wolf leaves the impression that the filmmakers found an available building (a house which is being renovated in this case) and decided to make a movie there. However, due to the power outage, we don't get to see much of the house. For much of the movie, the "monster" is represented by POV shots, which are tinted red -- an effect we've seen many times before. When the creature is revealed, well, let's just say that there isn't much to it. The movie reaches its low-point (a tough call) when a character is wearing a bald cap. This is the worst bald cap in history, as it doesn't come close to matching the actor's natural skin color. They didn't have a few minutes to slap some make-up on it? Maybe's it's the DVD's fault, but this was one of the most amateurish looking things which I've ever seen. Director Jonathan Glendening tries to make sure that something happens every few minutes once the group is in the attic, but none of it is interesting and the movie drags.
And, what about Tom Felton. Well, he's playing someone who is miles away from his Harry Potter character, so I can't help but wonder if he chose a project like this to try and create a new image for himself. I can say that it didn't work, as Gary is a bigger jerk than Malfoy and he does nothing to make himself endearing to the viewer. Come to think of it, the rest of the cast fall into this category as well. At any rate, Felton should have read the script and known that the movie, which was shot in 2010, was going to be a turkey. He should be embarrassed that he's in this movie, as I know that I don't feel great about myself for having simply watched it.
Night Wolf can't be bothered with fur on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. I assume that this was the OAR, but the end credits are very small and blurry, nearly indecipherable. The image is fairly sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain and no defects from the source material. The bulk of the movie takes place at night, and, other than a few scenes, things never get too dark. The colors are natural looking. The level of detail is acceptable and the image never goes soft. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The monster attack scenes sound pretty good, as the surround effects are effective and the monster growls provide low rumbling in the subwoofer. The stereo effects are pretty good, although they aren't prevalent.
The Night Wolf DVD contains no extra features.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long