This film was made for teenaged boys who openly mock Twilight but secretly want something similar to connect with, guys that want entry level horror that isn’t too horrifying just yet.
It’s also there because apparently werewolves haven’t yet been beaten to death as a go-to for horror makers, and lastly because The Howling boasts name recognition that only a large number of crappy and unnecessary sequels can bring, (by my count this is around the 8th or 9th iteration).
Will Kidman is an awkward High School tween who wonders if he really fits in, he thinks that ‘there is nothing special about him’. Which I guess makes him every teenager on the planet…
Will is concerned because he isn’t cool, he isn’t a genius, he isn’t funny or especially handsome, so to remedy this he yearns in vain for his polar opposite, a cute, sassy and popular girl named Eliana. Alas Will knows that this can never be.
Then out of the (clumsily scripted) blue Eliana invites him unexpectedly to a cool underground party and it’s on like Donkey Kong baby, almost. Unfortunately as Will is nearing first base he is rudely interrupted by something large, hairy and hungry. Another Meatloaf farewell concert maybe? Not this time, something else entirely.
Fortunately in these situations it helps if your nerdy best friend is a werewolf expert who can tell you all the tips and traps in dealing with them, but not how to handle possibly becoming one yourself. It helps a lot when the werewolves all look like boy band members when in human form… But when figures from your past show up things become even more complicated for both Will and Eliana.
The Howling: Reborn starts OK and the first quarter of an hour show a little promise, but the film is overproduced, unsurprising and disappointing to anyone who has seen more than a few such films. At least it tries to be a little less serious than some contemporaries and the odd joke is appreciated even if few hit the mark. The soundtrack is also a little departure from the emo/indie-pop/faux punk of recent times, with a real shoegazing set of tracks sure to get the kids a-bopping. Or not.
Finally I must deal with the elephant in the room for werewolf movies – the transformation scene – this film takes an eon to get to the first one. It must be said that last year I reamed The Wolfman for what I thought was a lazy CGI sequence with none of the creativity or impact of An American Werewolf in London or even the original Howling, films nearly three decades its senior. But having seen the dodgy costumes and effects on display in The Howling: Reborn I must reluctantly admit that if your costumes and effects are this crappy, perhaps dodgy CGI is the way to go.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. Hey it could be worse, but I doubt it could be much more bland.