Apr 18, 2011

[Movies] Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010)

Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010)I love Felicia Day. As a geek, it's hard not to admire this darling of the social media age. Between her participation in the highly successful Whedon project Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and her own home-grown geek web series The Guild, it's hard for the geek world not to know who she is by now.

And it's taken a while for Hollywood to figure this out as well, but they're certainly warming up to the idea. In their efforts to up their geek cred since that has somehow become "cool" in the entertainment industry, you can see various movie studies and pay-TV outfits trying to figure out how to respond to these kinds of trends and new celebrities of the modern age.

I have to admit I had some fairly high hopes for this movie. The premise alone seemed to have potential given the combination of hardcore supernatural elements paired with a classic tale that most of us learned as children seemed to be a great foundation for things. Then add in Felica Day and you'd think that you'd have had a winning formula right here.

So it wasn't quite that.

Red: Werewolf Hunter is a 2010 made-for-TV horror / action movie released by the SyFy Channel. It was directed by Sheldon Wilson with a screenplay by Brook Dunham.

We begin with Virginia "Red" Sullivan (Felicia Day) bringing home her fiancee Nathan (Kavan Smith) to meet the rest of her family. But the Sullivans are no ordinary family - apparently the female side of the line has always been killing werewolves for centuries, hence the reason for the fairy tale. Red is the latest line in Sullivan werewolf hunters but is determined to lead a normal life, leaving her grandmother (Rosemary Dunsmore) and her brothers Marcus (Greg Bryk) and Jake (David Reale) to continue the fight.

However, a new kind of werewolf has come along in the form of Gabriel (Stephen McHattie), who apparently can change form at will. He quickly takes control of the local werewolf clan and opts to break the truce between the werewolf clan and the Sullivan family. Nathan has the unfortunate luck of encountering this new werewolf on his first nigh with the Sullivans, thus leading to a future plot point of dealing with his own turning.

This movie sort of goes back to why "made-for-TV" meant a definite drop in movie quality. While we know that SyFy likes to churn these movies out on Saturday nights as quickly as they can, the involvement of someone like Felicia kind of made one hope that they'd have attempted to do a better job.

Felicia Day at a San Diego Comic-Con panel for...Image via WikipediaTo be fair, Felicia was the best actress in the project. She brought her usual brand of silent intensity paired with moments of sensitivity to the whole performance. In that regard she was pretty consistent and the only things that didn't work for me are more attributable to the writing or the directing given a lack of understanding in terms of how to best utilize her talents to the fullest.

The rest of the cast was largely forgettable. The villain did not seem at all scary and the Sullivan's never really felt like they were one big family unit.

I think given the theoretical constraints set against this movie, they probably had two choices: push the limits of their imaginations with the budget they were given or just come out with a movie to meet the deadline. And by that first point, that doesn't necessarily mean they were obligated to make a great / serious movie. Saturday night horror movies could have been more about a lot of cheesy, campy moments and had the director chosen to push this angle, the end result might have been a heck of a lot better.

Instead, we got a move that failed to meet the expectations of a more serious film and one that was littered with plot holes, character inconsistencies and some scenes that were just downright stupid. It was just short of a miracle that I still finished the movie.

Red: Werewolf Hunter is not the best showcase of what Felicia Day can manage and I can only hope that the rest of Hollywood puts more thought into such projects before wasting her time. This movie just manages 1 stupid werewolf quirk out of 5.

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