Crying Wolf (2015)
I was lucky enough to get a preview of this new horror film which is due out later this year.
A private detective is investigating a missing person in a quaint English village. In the bookshop he is drawn to an old book, which he takes to a pub and reads. It tells the story of practical joker Andy, who is attacked by a werewolf one night. His friends don't believe him (he's always "crying wolf") until he sprouts hair and attacks them too. And they end up forming a pack of blood-thirsty beasts every full moon.
What we have is a horror comedy, with a particular fondness for 'classic' British humour from the 1970s. We're talking swanee whistle sound effects, nods to Carry On films, and characters with names like 'Terri and June'. Sometimes the comedy's a bit hit and miss, but it does have charm, and you can't help feeling the cast and crew were having loads of fun.
There's a silliness to the story which I really enjoyed. It features a pack of werewolves going camping in the Cotswolds, for a start. There's a torture scene involving a set of bongo drums and a mezzaluna herb cutter. We get flashback scenes within flashback scenes. Gratuitous boobs pop up. A film noir-style voiceover narrates. And horror scream queen Caroline Munroe appears in a brief but fun cameo. The camera work is pretty good, and overall it's well directed and edited.
The acting performances range from decent to slightly wobbly, but I found that actually added to the charm of the film. The framing device of the detective feels slightly redundant once the story gets going. But these are minor issues. The biggest problem for me is the CGI. Whenever practical effects are used, they're surprisingly good. Very good in fact. It's just a shame they didn't use them throughout. The computer generated ones are immediately recognisable for what they are, and give the film a cheap made-for-TV look it doesn't necessarily deserve.
Is Crying Wolf scary? - Not especially. Is it funny? - Sometimes. Is it entertaining? - Yes! Despite the shortcomings I mentioned, I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. The whole thing has an enthusiasm which is quite infectious. There's a cheeky charm to its silliness. And it rattles along at a fairly fast pace. An American Werewolf In London it isn't. but it's a heck of a lot more fun than many other low-budget horror offerings out there.