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Featured DVD Review: Neowolf

April 14th, 2010

Neowolf - Buy from Amazon

Neowolf, a.k.a., The Band from Hell, is a Direct-to-DVD release about rock'n'roll werewolves. Wow. Okay, so Neowolf is probably not going to be award worthy, but its competition are fellow Direct-to-DVD releases, so the bar is set a lot lower. But will it be low enough?

The film starts with Tony (Michael Frascino) traveling home to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend, Rosemary (Heidi Johanningmeier). Well, technically the movie starts with an offering of boobs and blood, but the plot starts with Tony traveling back to see his ex-girlfriend. Tony and Rosemary had broken up because Rosemary was tired of Tony's rock'n'roll lifestyle and wants nothing to do with him. However, when her best friend, Kevin (Ryan Ross) invites her to go to open mike night at a local bar, it's a trick and Tony sings a romantic song written for her. It's such a great song that he wins her back, but she's not the only ones in the bar who are impressed. A Romanian band called Neowolf are there that night and invite Tony and Rosemary to party with them. At first Rosemary comes along, but they are asses, so she splits and waits for Tony to join her. When he doesn't show up, she assumes he's gone back to his old ways, but the truth is more terrifying. Neowolf is actually a band of werewolves and they are making Tony their new recruit.

This is a movie about rock'n'roll werewolves so there's almost no chance it was going to be a great movie. But if played right, it could be fun in a low-budget, boobs and blood kind of way. The first nude scene happens about 90 seconds into the movie, while the first kill follows shortly after that. I figured this was the way they were going to go with the movie. Unfortunately, they mostly played it straight, which was the worst way to go. It made the film a real slog. Most of the characters ranged from uninteresting to unsympathetic, while the dialogue was poorly written and in many cases the delivery made it worse. The action scenes were particularly poor, filled with slow-mo shots and overly shaky camera work. It was as if the filmmakers were intentionally looking for a style that would impede the action. Maybe they were worried that if they showed the makeup on screen for too long, it would look too fake. Maybe they were right. There are some scenes where the werewolves look particularly bad (including one where it looked like the denture work didn't fit properly). At the best of times they looked more liked a band of Cro-Magnon people with silly contact lenses and vampire fans. And watching the lead Cro-Magnon / Werewolf give an overly dramatic speech in the end was horrendous.

One last note on the music: the film is about a rock band, so it's not surprising that there's a lot of music in the movie. However, it is done in a rather clumsy way. Instead of having the music in the background, the music takes center stage while the plot stops. This wouldn't be so bad if it happened once or twice, but it happens again and again and again. And only one song, "Runaway" by Go Betty Go, was worth listening to.

There are no extras on the DVD, but considering it's an Alan Smithee film, there wasn't going to be a director's commentary.

The Verdict

I recently reviewed The Lair and pointed out that the only character I liked was Frankie, because that character was the only source of humor in the entire show. Neowolf doesn't even have a good Frankie. It takes itself way too seriously and what could have been a ample slice of "Low Expectations Theater" turned into a painful experience. Add in a featureless DVD and this is safely skippable.

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