rated NO MOLECULAR MOVEMENT
An Unreal Howler
This movie is the first outright turkey I’ve seen for ages. It
poses as a hip, high-tech, original horror film, but it is actually a
pastiche of many of the horror films of recent years, only with
werewolves. These werewolves rip off bits of Alien (Ridley Scott,
1979), Predator (1987, McTiernan), Jaws (1975, Spielberg) and The Blair
Witch Project (1999 Myrick & Sanchez), and the actors chew them up
and spit them out at us. There’s even a bit of The Thin Red Line
(1999, Malick) in there (the scene with Woody Harrelson’s horrific
injury. From memory, it’s even shot from a similar angle).
Surely this is a move made for 8-year-old boys. I say that
because there’s no nudity to speak of (unless you count people whose
skin has been ripped off to reveal their innards). There’s a kind
of “trainer” babe – a woman in winter woollies who eventually strips
down to a white singlet and hipster jeans – but there’s no actual sex,
and the attractive girl and the attractive guy are constantly teased by
all the other guys, just as 8-year-olds would do. Perhaps this is
a movie made by 8-year-old boys!
This turkey has it all: overwritten dialogue, recycled ideas,
stock caricatures (my “tautology” there is intentional), pompous and
overblown music, ultra-rapid-fire editing (music video style) which
confuses the action and mixing up as to which character is which.
In the first few moments it almost seemed it was going to be a nice
little low budget horror film in the style of Val Lewton – you know, no
money for proper creature effects, so we’ll just hint at the monster
and not show it to you. Unfortunately, they showed the monsters
to us – admittedly gradually.
At first I thought these werewolves were rather nasty upright collie
dogs (in the manner of The Killer Shrews (1959, Ray Kellogg), where the
filmmakers seem to have fitted Halloween masks to collies to make the
killer shrews). Then I thought they were butchers dressed in
butchers’ capes and hoods, carrying pigs’ heads. But in the last
few scenes I realised that they were wearing leather pants, platform
shoes and big hair. That’s it – Attack of the Drooling Queens.
Believe it or not, the writer/director Neil Marshall sees fit to work
an office-politics type revenge sub-plot into the story. And
another sub-plot has a Special Weapons division standing behind the
werewolves (see Alien again if you think this is original).
Quite a bit of money has gone into this film. The special effects
were done by Bob Keen and Image Animation, who worked of Ronin (1998,
Frankenheimer), Elizabeth (1998, Kapur), Event Horizon (1997, Paul
Anderson) and Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997, Sturridge). They’re
good at blood and guts, but perhaps the creature workshop was having an
Some of the actors (mostly unknowns) were quite good, but they didn’t
get much of a chance to show what they could do. The scenery
looked lovely (Luxembourg standing in for Scotland). But how this
film actually got made, I don’t understand. Didn’t anyone see how
bad it was? Maybe the filmmakers took as their credo this
compelling line of dialogue from the film: “We’ll make it through
because we don’t scare easily”. If only they did.
© Michèle M Asprey 2003
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