Blu-ray Review: The Howling Reborn (15) / Director: Joe Nimziki / Screenplay: Joe Nimziki / Starring: Landon Liboiron, Lindsey Shaw, Ivana Milicevic / Release Date: Out Now
It might just be me but I seem to remember the Howling franchise being a pretty big deal in video shops during the 80s. You might think that Joe Dante’s original film (which is still nasty and cool) would merit something of a fanfare for its inevitable reboot or remake. Seems it was not to be, as The Howling Reborn is every inch a low budget attempt to cash in on the current popularity of confused werewolf teenagers.
We begin with a pregnant woman attacked and seemingly killed by a werewolf but the baby survives. Seventeen years later and the baby has grown up into wet dreaming artistic wimp Will (Landon Liboiron) about to graduate with an unrequited crush on rebel chick Eliana (Lindsey Shaw). Strange new kids have joined the school and their eyebrows join in the middle. Will is attacked at a club one night and starts to experience change, he discovers a dark secret related to his parentage which threatens a safe graduation for everyone.
The Howling Reborn is an incoherent mess of a film that never comes to terms with what it wants to be. The soundtrack and angsty scenes are pure Twilight rip off, the werewolf effects and gore are done on such a low budget that it resembles a spoof and the acting is on another level entirely. To be fair, it seems as though director Joe Nimziki does have a bit of talent. The opening scenes are quite well done and he gets some good performances from his young cast, he also has a talent for matching the visuals with the angsty soundtrack. When your producer is also credited as the co-writer for your film, you can begin to see the problems here.
Every time the film threatens to get good with its werewolf carnage we instead cut away to a scene of Will and Eliana about to engage in animalistic love making only for him to spout something like “I Can’t…Leave Me Alone!!!”. The film constantly threatens to go full exploitation but then bottles it for the easy reference to the Twilight crowd. As a result the film just doesn’t work at all, the werewolf effects are of the men in suit variety and they choose to film the fights shaky-cam style to mask this problem. This just adds to the overall feeling of puzzlement as bizarrely the students attend a graduation ceremony at night during a full moon.
I am sure that The Howling films were not classics the first time around (in fact from what I hear, not even close) but surely the franchise deserves better than this limp effort.
Special Features: Making of, Storyboards.