Words: Brody Rossiter
Freshly sober and still wrestling with her inner demons, Emma returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the wild Arkansas Mountains. Unfortunately, the presence of two escaped convicts and a ferocious beast which prowls the surrounding woodland mean that she won’t be getting much R&R during this bloodthirsty retreat.
Werewolf Rising is a film that manages to completely undermine the freeing, artistically inclusive nature of digital film. Presenting the argument that rather than proliferating filmmaking and affording every fresh-out-of-college filmmaker a myriad of possibilities, we should instead rip those somewhat affordable pieces of handheld technology out of their hands post-haste before cinematic monstrosities such as this can join the vast, endless abyss of filmless film.
Such an argument is obviously incorrect, but how a picture so reductive, clumsy and ultimately amateurish can garner a release – whether straight to DVD or not – is baffling. Even if the picture were a parody – I’m ninety per cent sure that it’s not – it would be a bad one of better films – as exhibited by its influence heavy score. The characterisation and dialogue are excruciatingly confused, while torturous histories of alcoholism are commonplace and a heavy-handed paedophile subplot is shoehorned in for effect in the final act – just in case the Southern American demographic wasn’t already offended enough. The special effects and their accompanying shortcomings are relatively acceptable to begin with, before essentially boiling down to a man in a cheap furry suit sprinting around the woods whilst public domain screams obnoxiously blast at you from your television. Instead of delicately crafting a creepy unsettling atmosphere with familiar horror genre cinematography tricks, a series of bizarre camera angles are cut and paste together creating a strong sense of motion sickness as opposed to emotional unease – even a fish eye lens makes an ugly appearance, making everything appear as though it’s a scene lifted straight from Dr. Caligari’s Cabinet of Wanky Werewolves.
Werewolf Rising is not so bad it’s good; it is however so bad that it becomes relatively entertaining in the same manner as watching YouTube fail compilations for an hour before feeling slightly ashamed with oneself. Bill Oberst Jr.’s animalistic performance does lend an air of devilish legitimacy when he is onscreen, however such moments are few and far between. It is always difficult to maul a picture in this manner, but unfortunately Werewolf Rising is a horror film that is all fluff and no bite.