Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Howl (2015) last train, full moon, all change.
Director Paul Hyett keeps the suspense moving at consistent British rail pace. Echoing Severance, an unlikely band of people have to come together to survive, Hyett handles the blood and gore particularly well with excitedly executed guts and intermittent beasties set ups. The practical special effects are fantastic and out shine the visual CGI shots. The creature design is a mix of Dog Soldiers and mid transformation of the Howling's werewolves and comes off quite creepy when remaining hidden in the dim light. The station and forest setting give the film some weight and Paul E. Francis' music adds impact to the train attack segments.
Writers Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler offer an appealing idea with the stranded train passengers trapped in the middle of no where surrounded by werewolf-like creatures. A minor quibble is that at times Howl is a little choppy and uneven and the character are arguably not as polished as they could be. Lead actor Ed Speleers (channeling Max Beesley) is effective enough as he tries to step up to the mark and control the desperate situation as the characters are picked off one by one.
There's a welcomed extended cameo from Sean Pertwee as the train driver Tony. Sam Gittins (a dead ringer of Taron Egerton) is notable as any everyday student who tries to fix the train. The Descents Shauna Macdonald also appears as Kate and Elliot Cowan (Alexander) puts in a good performance as unscrupulous Adrian.
Against public expectation and want, refreshingly it omits the quips of Dog soldiers, WolfCop and American Werewolf in London to name a few. And while it isn't quiet as tense or serious to match the Howling, Late Phases or The Descent somber tone it has feet of its own thanks it's original atmospheric train setting, creature design and gore. The creepy old lady makeup stands out as particularly memorable and eerie.
With a modest budget in a sea of werewolf TV shows, DTV and sub-par sub genre films this stands out as one of the better additions.