No studio is more identifiable with monsters than Universal Studios. The pioneers of the classic American monster movie with classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and many more, the studio has long been linked to the legacy of great monster movie making. In recent years they have tried to reboot their Universal Monsters identity with remakes and new takes on the classics. The Wolfman with Benecio Del Toro was a fantastic film but did not manage to attract quite enough attention to get the ball rolling again. Now Universal is trying it again with the direct to Home Entertainment feature Werewolf: The Beast Among Us.
Set in the middle of the 19th Century, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us follows a young man named Daniel (Guy Wilson) in a remote village in Romania that has been plagued by attacks by what the villagers think is a werewolf. Daniel is studying to be a surgeon under the tutelage of the town doctor (Stephen Rea). When a team of self-proclaimed werewolf hunters show up (Ed Quinn, Ana Ularu & Adam Croasdell) and promise to rid the town of it’s werewolf problem, Daniel feels compelled to join them and vanquish the evil that has been plaguing his town right off the earth. Almost as vicious as the werewolves are the town’s secrets and now they must band together to stop that which is taking so many lives.
Werewolf: The Beast Among Us has a few things going for it. First off, it does have that retro feel to it like all of those monster movie sequels of the past. Some of the performances are alright as well. And fans of gore will want to stick around for this one. But the film also falls short in a couple of major places. First off, the script very much shows its direct to home entertainment roots with a cheesy overtone to the whole thing. It has a few decent surprises along the way, but just remained too generic and cheesy for this viewers tastes.
The Blu-ray from Universal was pretty good looking for a direct to home entertainment release. Colors are very earthy but nicely reproduced. Most of the action takes place at night, and while a few conversational scenes lacked depth in picture, the black levels remain fairly consistent throughout. The soundtrack was well executed with some nice “in the woods” scenes, some good gore and a few laughs. But the CG werewolf showed its budget a few times and the cheesiness of the script showed through the actors as well. Yes the monster movies were camp quite often, but this was more of a trying to be serious but kinda failing cheesiness. If you are a die hard werewolf movie fan, check it out. Cool twists and some great gore might make one viewing worth it, but people who aren’t into werewolves might find it a little too silly to bear.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.