Werewolf Rising (2014)

DVD Cover (Image Entertainment)
BC Fourteen BC Fourteen
Brian Berry Brian Berry
Melissa Carnell Melissa Carnell
Matt Copko Matt Copko
Taylor Horneman Taylor Horneman
Danielle Lozeau Danielle Lozeau

2.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Werewolf Film
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Review by Crispy
Added: February 18, 2015
I saw this DVD in Wal-Mart a few months ago and absolutely loved that cover. Still, I've been burned by enough DVD covers to know that the movie within usually fails to match that level. Unfortunately, Werewolf Rising was yet another in that long list.

After a long struggle with alcoholism, Emma has decided to leave Boston and spend some time in her childhood home, deep in the mountains of Arkansas. An old friend of her father, Wayne, has been keeping the house maintained in her absence, and he gladly turns the keys back to her. Her first night, she finds a man prowling around her backyard, and after a short conversation, she learns his name is Johnny Lee and he's actually Wayne's nephew. Emma's happy to have made a new friend, but Wayne warns her to keep her distance. You see, he's actually an escaped convict with a history of violence and drug abuse. Despite this, Johnny Lee quickly wins her over with his charm, and she begins to fall for him despite his past. However, he's about to add a little more baggage to the load, as that night a werewolf breaks down his front door and takes a nice chunk out of his chest. We all know what his immediate future looks like.

I'll tell you, there was actually a lot of potential here, but that script just tore it down. Writer/director BC Furtney really needed some help streamlining things. He just had too many ideas in there that either were way too under-developed or should have been taken out completely. For example, he was trying to put emphasis on Emma's battle with alcoholism, but nothing really comes of it. Sure, it gives us a reason for putting her there in the first place, but for all the weight they put on it, you'd think it'd have more of a purpose in the overall plot. Likewise, Wayne has his own history with the sauce, leading to a huge scene of him hitting on Emma and retreating to a bar after she turns him down. It's all padding, and should have been ended up on the cutting room floor. Wayne's entire role should have been to give her the keys to her house, explain Johnny Lee's history, and that should have been it. Then we get to the ending. By far, it's the absolutely worst offense in Furtney's inability to tell a coherent story. To put a finger on it, Werewolf Rising actually has three different endings, but he just stacked them all together, even though none of them made any sense on their own, let alone forced in along the other two. The first of which involves Wayne, and again, should never have happened, but the other two might have worked if I knew what the fuck was going on. Between a random naked woman in the woods who seemingly has some knowledge of the werewolf (which makes exactly zero sense when you consider why she's there) and some ill-explained connection between Emma and the werewolf, the story just ends with no payoff. Those last two ideas may possibly have worked had he actually taken the time to think them through to completion. It's a shame, there's actually a decent movie hiding in there; if only he had been able to figure out exactly what story he wanted to tell.

The acting sure didn't help this one either. In the leading roles we had Melissa Carnell and Matt Copko as Emma and Johnny Lee. I didn't have much of a problem with Carnell in the beginning, but once Johnny Lee was attacked and she was supposed to be scared and on edge, her entire performance fell apart, and hard. For his part, Copko didn't bottom out like his co-star did, but his par line was still well below where you'd want it to be. With that said, he had enough swagger and charisma to inject a little entertainment back into things. Brian Berry wasn't terrible as Wayne, but as I've already said, that character's screen time needed to be cut down by a long shot. Then there was Bill Oberst Jr. While his character pops up later in the movie and there's no way I can talk about his role without spoilers, suffice to say he was actually really good. He definitely should have had a bigger role; not only would it have taken advantage of his talents, but it would have been a good way to add some coherence to the plot. Now, this movie used the tried and true man in a costume to bring the werewolf to life, and Taylor Hornerman was another miscast. He just was not big enough to hulk over his victims the way you would want your monster to. Not to mention, the head looked much more reminiscent of a bat than a wolf. Not that either of those complaints were Hornerman's fault per se, but they should have been addressed.

Somewhere in all this there could have been a passable werewolf movie, but shoddy acting and an even shoddier script keeps this one from leading the pack. Going to have to go with a recommendation to avoid. 3.5/10.
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