Monday, October 22, 2018

Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights is back again! This event is unique to other haunt events because Universal creates mazes that replicate horror films and television shows. I love the feeling of stepping into a favorite scene and being part of the action.

* Stranger Things

Stranger Things had the longest line through the entire night and it was a nice touch to have 80's hits play for people waiting. The demagorgon stalks you throughout the maze right from the first room. Walking into Will Byers' house with all the Christmas lights flashing was awesome and immersive. The alphabet lights flash and reveal "run" while the demagorgon tries to push through a wall. The upside down forest is beautiful and surreal to walk through while the portal to the upside down in the facility looked like the same set piece from the show. Fans of the show will love it, although there was a lot of demagorgon and not a lot of good guys. It's hard to have the main characters in the maze because of their age and the statues of them looked a little weird.

* Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat is the ultimate Halloween movie and the maze did a lot to get me into the Halloween spirit. Unlike the film, each section is separated and labeled: The Principal, Surprise Party, School Bus Massacre, Meet Sam, and Trick 'r Treat. Surprise Party had pretty awesome werewolf makeup and animatronics. Meet Sam is my overall favorite segment of the maze with creepy Trainspotting-esque Sam on the ceiling, a replica of the old man's bloodsplattered room with the flaming jack o'lantern, and the deranged trick or treaters. The jump scares with Sam made me squee because he's one of the cutest characters. The only drawback was too many rooms with no set and one jumpscare when there are plenty of scenes to draw on from the film.

* The First Purge

I'm not the hugest fan of The First Purge movie, but the maze was ok. The mannequin room was brilliant and it was genuinely hard to tell the difference between the actors and the mannequins. The Skeletor character is the one that recurs in the jumpscares even though he's not the true villain of the film. He is the most memorable and creepy looking though. There were some fun misdirection moments where there were two jumpscares in one room with the second being unexpected. The good parts of the film, namely the political commentary, didn't really make it into the maze and it ended with those awful jumpscare rooms. Overall, it's fun but nothing spectacular.

* Halloween 4: The Curse of Michael Myers

Halloween is one of my favorite franchises, so I feel a little giddy every time I walk in one of their mazes. The exterior of the gas station is reproduced down to the last detail and the iconic soundtrack sets the mood. Michael is wrapped in bandages at through the beginning of the maze. A scarred Dr. Loomis makes an appearance. I just love the small details like Michael appearing after the musical cue just like in the films. While I'm happy the third installment was skipped as a whole maze, it was a nice detail to see the masks here as trick or treaters and in the Silver Shamrock commercial on the TV. Michael finally gets his mask and walking through the hanging sheets is so creepy not knowing when he's going to jump out. I really loved this maze even though it's not my favorite film because it captures the holiday as it goes and keeps me on my toes.

* Poltergeist

Poltergeist is one of my favorite haunted house movies. The exterior of the maze with the house, flashing lights, and blaring soundtrack really sucked me into the story. Unlike the film, the maze goes straight for the horrific stuff starting with a grotesque scene in the kitchen. The goriest scene with the man shedding his face in the bathroom recurs throughout the maze with pretty good acting. The two rooms that had  a giant, lit up skull that rushes at you and splashes a bit of water. It's so unlike anything else in the park that it took be aback. The iconic clown makes an appearance as an actor and the spindly creature near the end of the film stands as a larger than life animatronic. The reveal of the corpses is done really well with coffins lining the walls uncomfortably close, filled with either statues or actors. Although the jumpscare room is used, it's not as much as other mazes and enough stands out beyond that. Even though there aren't a lot of scare actors in the maze, Poltergeist felt chock full of scares and detailed sets.

* The Horrors of Blumhouse Chapter 2: Truth or Dare and Unfriended

I honestly expected this maze to be the worst considering I hadn't heard good things about Truth or Dare and Unfriended occurs entirely on a computer screen, which is hard to translate to a maze. The Truth or Dare segment mostly occurs in some sort of church. Kind of out of left field, but I haven't seen the movie yet. The rooms are atmospheric and finally seem to get to the meat of the story where people are dared to cut out their tongues or slit their throats. Then Unfriended comes along with the last jumpscare of the film (which I hated) occurs over and over. At least the blender scene, the best death of the film, was recreated. The last few rooms were from something called The Girl. It should have been clearer that this was the story behind the girl in the Blumhouse title sequence. While it's enjoyable, it seemed like they ran out of material from the two movies for a whole maze. This was the least enjoyable maze but better than I thought it would be.

* Universal Monsters

Universal Monsters are iconic and classic, setting the bar for horror cinema for decades. The outside of the maze is kind of fun, merging modern with classic in neon graffiti style art of the monsters on top of the brick and wrought iron facade. The cemetery scene completely sucks you into the world of monsters. The first tableau is surprisingly hard hitting with Frankenstein's monster hugging the little girl he accidentally killed and saying "friend" over and over. The werewolf was not needed in the same room. I love the inclusion of angry villagers with weapons and the fiery windmill from Frankenstein. The Phantom looks much more hideous with half the skin on his face gone. The Invisible Man effect was a bit cheesy, using black light and neon clothing and bandages. The later werewolves and Dracuala's transformation into a wolf looked much better. The more gory tableaux surprised me like the dinner party where have been killed and some beheaded. This new version of Renfield looks disturbingly deranged. I take some issue with the only female monster, the Bride, being dismembered alive by Dr. Frankenstein. It looks amazing and makes sense considering the doctor's madness, but it was still disappointing to see. Having Slash compose new music instead of using the iconic themes already associated with each film was a missed opportunity. Most of it sounded fine, but fans of the old films know their musical themes. Overall, the maze did a good job making the monsters more scary while acknowledging their legendary past.

* Terror Tram: Hollywood Harry's Dreadtime Stories

Hollywood Harry AKA Coodles the Clown is a fictional old mascot of Universal who was fired and then lived backstage onsite with other clowns. His story along with his clown friends was its own Terror Tram from a past year. This one has him introducing 5 Tales from the Crypt style comic book stories in a video before the experience. Who Let the Dogz Out has humanoid canines chasing people with weapons. The tram always starts with being chased with chainsaws which gets me every time no matter who holds it. Kill Billyz has man-eating animals running a motel. The animals chase people in and out of the motel rooms. Skinless bodies are strung up in front of fires, which looked impressively grotesque. Scarecrowz Revenge has scarecrows planting corpses instead of corn. I thought this one sounded like the best segment, but it was just clowns and scarecrows elevated, attacking you on either side of some fences. Disappointing based on what was shown. Clowns on a Plane features a plane brought down by misbehaving clowns. The clown costumes were all different and creepy in their own ways. Nightmarez has captive people being tortured by clowns. It's a bit short and takes forever to get through. Then it ends with more chainsaws. Overall, I liked the concept as an original idea instead of from another intellectual property. Four out of the five sections were pretty decent and a vast improvement over the Walking Dead terror tram from years past.

* RIP Tour

The RIP Experience is back and much improved! I arrived early and rested in a room with a giant poster of Phantom of the Opera, phone chargers, free water, and comfy couches to wait before our buffet dinner. As always, the buffet dinner is amazing with a wide variety of food all fresh, hot, and delicious. In a separate room, there are some sets and a demagorgon from Stranger Things to take photos of and with. Afterward, a tour guide took my group of around 15 on every maze plus our very own VIP Terror Tram and the Jabbawockeez show. We went through the express lane and never waited for more than 15 minutes for a maze.

The guide was flexible with bathroom breaks and anyone could split off from the group and return if they wanted. There were two longer designated breaks with beverages and desserts in hidden lounges. One of the best things was free water bottles everywhere we went which is nice since there is a lot of walking. The only thing I didn't get to experience was the makeup demonstration. Maybe we ran out of time our something, but I didn't miss it. My friend and I ditched the dance show to go on a couple mazes again before the end of the night. I thought it was perfect, well paced, and flexible to accommodate everyone.

* Final Thoughts

Overall, the mazes are all enjoyable and fun. However, their format feels very formulaic, particularly with the rooms that are one actor, a black room, a railing, and a curtain for a jumpscare. This room is in every maze multiple times. It didn't work in The Exorcist from years past and doesn't work that much here either. These rooms are lazy with no real set design. It takes you entirely out of the atmosphere created and there's no real payoff. These scares lose effectiveness quickly. I hope this changes in the future because this aspect is feeling a bit stale. In years past, I dreaded the last room because it would end with the biggest scare and I don't have that feeling anymore.

This event has made changes based on what their audience wants. I was asked a few times to take their survey on the RIP tour so they can make even more improvements next year. I appreciate that they listened, brought back the RIP tour, and then improved it based on these surveys (and numerous complaints when it wasn't available). On the night I went, the lines were so long that many people left complaining. I highly recommend at least getting the express pass to avoid the stand-by lines that can get up to almost 3 hours. I hope the event continues to improve and change as years go on.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Horror Movie Mini-Reviews: Truth or Dare (2017) and The Lodgers (2017)

On Halloween, a group eight friends venture into an abandoned house with a rumor to be haunted. Rumor has it that a game of truth or dare was played there with deaths and tragedy at its conclusion. Why not play truth or dare there just for fun? The game starts out as normal until cruel dares and brutal truths are found written on sheets of paper. If truths aren't answered or dares aren't done within a time limit, the person will die a horrific death. The game follows them even after they have left the house. If any of them wants to survive, the game has to be finished.

I watched this movie on Netflix completely thinking it was the Blumhouse film of the same name released last year. I was wrong, but I found a fun gem of a film. On the surface, Truth or Dare has a lot going against it as a made for TV movie by the SyFy Channel, populated with unknown actors. However, I found myself having a lot of fun with the film. Much of the film feels familiar, but not within the same subgenre or film. The brutal truths truly ruin lives and relationships, making them comparable to the dares. The horrific dares that increase in intensity and danger call to mind the traps in Saw and the sick game of Would You Rather. The cringeworthy gore effects are achieved with practical effects, which is part of why I had no idea it was a SyFy film, which tend to rely on CGI. The supernatural entity forcing them to continue is reminiscent of One Missed Call or The Ring. The way it communicates felt so fresh with written messages appearing first on paper and then in odd places, punctuated with some sort of supernatural movement like opening or slamming doors.

The combination of Saw or Would You Rather type grotesque tasks with a supernatural force feels fresh and fun. Some kills are broadcasted while others come out of nowhere. Heather Langenkamp makes an unexpected cameo as the only survivor of the phenomenon years ago giving wisdom to the new victims. The overall ensemble acting didn't bother me at all as it has in other SyFy features. Don't let the made for TV or SyFy label make you skip this one. I had a lot of fun with Truth or Dare, wondering at what was going to happen and cringing at the torturous dares and life ruining truths. I'm interested in seeing how the Blumhouse film of the same name and disturbingly similar concept (released a year later) matches up.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

* The Lodgers (2017)

In 1920's rural Ireland, twins Rachel and Edward live in a decaying mansion on a sprawling estate. Unfortunately, what comes with this legacy are crushing debts and an odd set of rules set by ancestors to be followed to the letter. Edward seems content to follow in his parents and their parents and so on's footsteps, but Rachel wants something else.

The Lodgers has so much that I like: a gothic story, a decaying atmospheric mansion, creepy siblings, visually interesting water imagery, and a family curse. However, the execution leaves me cold. The characters are almost all completely awful. Edward is not only physically and emotionally abusive to Rachel, but he also forces her to do all the heavy lifting in their relationship. Since he's a complete and utter coward, she has to face and try to solve their financial woes and get everything from the town they need by herself. I started out relating to and feeling for Rachel and her interest in people and things outside of her home. However, she cruelly uses a disabled veteran for her own ends. I lost all sympathy for her and saw her as almost equal in cruelty to her brother. I didn't expect them to run away together or anything as trite as that, but he symbolized the world on the outside and all the things she's missing in her self imposed isolation.

The visual style is well done with disorienting moments of water dripping upwards and visions of drowned couples in water. I loved the creepy song that lays out their specific rules, but it could have been used more. The big revelation of the film is loudly broadcast throughout the film and a trope of gothic stories, so it didn't have the effect it should have had. When the consequences of the broken rules is revealed, it doesn't look as good as the rest of the visuals and it took me out of the film. While I love the subgenre, the small details, and the atmosphere, The Lodgers is a frustrating mess to watch. It has such good pieces, similar to films like The Innocents and Crimson Peak, but all together, it falls very short of those films.

My rating: 2.5/5 fishmuffins

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

The Finch House has a strange and tragic past dating back to its creation. It's stayed empty for years, owned by the city and becoming increasing overgrown. Wainwright, creator of a site that specializes in unconventional livesteamed experiences that go viral, convinces four famous horror authors to stay in the house for two days and conduct a multi-part interview for online viewers. Nothing weird happens except for some nightmares and they all return to their respective homes. Months later, all four have withdrawn from their lives, furiously writing novels that greatly resemble each other and awful visions appear if they dare to stop writing. When they hit a wall in inspiration, they band together once again to find out what's happening.

Kill Creek is a book that subverted many of my expectations. The characters represented a wider swath of horror than I thought. The four authors have their own distinct styles and audiences. Sebastian Cole writes more subtle horror for a wide audience. He's the most well known and oldest of the authors. Daniel Slaughter writes horror with a moral and religious bent targeted at teens, but his religious base seems to think his writing is getting too extreme. Sam McGarver teaches as a second career and has writers block after one hugely successful book followed by a few less spectacular releases. I would love to take one of his classes based on the insightful lecture portrayed. T.C. Moore writes gruesome, hardcore horror with sexual depravity. She's my favorite of the authors because she exposes the boys' club sexism she's subject to and doesn't acquiese to anyone. Her bluntness and honesty are refreshing. All four represent different facets of horror and clash at times due to their differences in philosophy.

I expected a haunted house book where the bulk of the story would be scares within the house during the interview and that wasn't it at all. The scares are more insidious and subtle than that. The force within the house haunted them well after they went home, infiltrating their dreams and essentially torturing each of them to write their own version of its story. Scott Thomas writes excerpts of their writing convincingly in their respective styles. This is especially impressive to capture so many other literary voices in addition to one's own. The real mystery begins when they reunite completely changed from months before and return to the house to fight whatever it is. The force is never truly defined, which I prefer, but it's definitely malicious and has a defined plan for how to endure. Its origin is particularly thought provoking and unique. The portrayal is a fresh take on a haunting that isn't as simple as a dead person or a few tragic events.

Kill Creek has everything I wanted: an unknowable evil, four extremely different main characters with secrets to hide, and an eccentric mogul to bring them all together. The history of the house of was just as chilling as present day events and contributed to the eerie mood of the novel. I would love to see more from Scott Thomas. His descriptions and insights into the characters felt so vivid and truly sucked me into the story. Highly recommended if you want a book that gets under your skin.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, October 19, 2018

Podcast Friday: Spookiness Part 2

More podcast spookiness!

* Halloween Unmasked

Halloween Unmasked is an eight-part podcast that delves into the background of the classic film Halloween, its franchise, and the 2018 sequel. Film critic Amy Nicholson details the motivations of making the film, the casting, and the relationships of the people behind the scenes. John Carpenter really wanted to make westerns and agreed to direct Halloween as a stepping stone. Jamie Lee Curtis wanted to break out of the shadow of her famous parents and step out of background parts. Nobody really expected Halloween to endure as a classic. Further episodes examine Michael Meyer's psychology (and Dr. Loomis' incompetence), the many and varied sequels of the franchise, and the science of fear. I love this series. It's really opened my eyes to so much about this beloved franchise and puts many things in perspective. Very well done and researched.

* Test Pattern

Jacob and Tab over at Test Pattern have Halloween goodies for their listeners. Their first October episode tackles two classic witch films, The Witches and Hocus Pocus. Both are family friendly movies where witches kill children, but one is much more well known than the other. Their second episode covers the original Nosferatu and the modern reimagining of its making, Shadow of the Vampire. The background of Nosferatu is fascinating and includes a lawsuit by Bram Stoker's widow, an expensive marketing campaign, and almost the complete destruction of every copy of the film. The two films have so much in common, but completely different tones and aims. Their third episode covers the Halloween Tree book by Ray Bradbury and the cartoon. I haven't listened yet because I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm sure it'll be awesome.

* Darkest Night

After the explosive conclusion of season 2, Darkest Night season 3 starts of oddly without resolving the previous season. I'm completely on board with all the seemingly supernatural events seen in Project Cyclops, where the optic nerve of someone dead is harvested to see the last moments of their lives. The stories are gruesome, chilling, and varied within one season and through them all. It's fun to guess who dies, why, and how. This season is a bit different than the others in the plot (because the main character Katie usually acts as a mole in the company where she works) and the narrator (now voiced by the awesome Keith David). This season is harder to see how everything is going to come together because so much of the frame story is obscured, but I'm along for the ride to see what it will be.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Horror Movie Mini-Reviews: Apostle (2018) and Tenderness of Wolves (1973)

* Apostle (2018)

In 1905, Thomas Richardson makes the long, difficult trek to a remote Welsh island to save his sister Jennifer, who was kidnapped and held ransom by some sort of religious group. He poses as a new convert in order to blend into their ranks and won't give a cent until he sees his sister alive. Thomas is woefully unprepared for what he finds on the island as he digs deeper and deeper.

Apostle is an interesting film because it takes a bizarre cult and places it in 1905. So many horror films about cults take place in present day and it's refreshing to see something a bit different that defies expectations. Thomas is a rough man with a troubled past as a Christian missionary. In China, he was tortured and almost killed, resulting in his loss of faith. (I did roll my eyes a little considering the worldwide, historical harm of missionaries enslaving and exploiting native people as well as erasing their culture.) In the Welsh island, Thomas is well aware of the danger he's in and takes every precaution to stay hidden as long as possible. You can't help but feel for Thomas despite his spiky demeanor because of his single-minded concern for his sister. His surprise at what he finds on the island reflects our surprise and it's pretty insane.

The cult itself seems open and friendly, providing homes, food, and resources to members in exchange for work. Underneath it all, the leader has suspected infiltrators killed and he doesn't have complete control of his people. Another seeks to usurp him and force him to either acquise or admit weakness. This man, Quinn, is one of the most odious characters I've seen. What he does to his daughter and her boyfriend when he finds they defied him is so disturbing and infuriating. The horror elements run the gamut of torture to a more eldritch, Lovecraftian horror, which took me by surprise. The lore is presented in only bits and pieces of events. Even the followers don't know the full power of the goddess they worship, which feels realistic in something so fantastical. I didn't completely love the ending, but it went a completely different way than I expected. Apostle delivers tension and scares along with this strange, half known mythology.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

* Tenderness of Wolves (1973)

In the wake of World War I, Fritz Haarmann takes advantage of the people's poverty and desperation to not only deal in contraband but also lure young men to his apartment to mutilate and murder. This is a real life figure known at the time as the Butcher of Hanover or the Wolfman due to the savage nature of his crimes. He was rumored to have butchered his victims and sold their meat, but this was never confirmed.

The film portrays Fritz as outside of society in many ways. He sells many things on the black market from donated or stolen clothing to mystery meat (presumably from his victims but never explicitly shown).  On a social level, he's a known gay man, which was illegal and made him vulnerable to arrest at essentially any time. On top of that, his manipulation, rape, and murder of young men must be kept secret. Fritz is shown to change his demeanor based on the situation on a dime. The most chilling scenes are with his victims. When he meets the young men, he invites them into his home for drink and dinner, which is hard to refuse for someone poor. From there, he coerces them into bed, implying an exchange for a job, transportation, or some other thing they need to survive. The change goes from insistant and charming to cold and predatory when he attacks. These scenes are surprisingly explicit for the time, providing a frank view of the killer's sexuality tied inextricably to his murders.

Unfortunately, the timing and flow of the film feels off. It isn't clear when things are happening, how far apart events are, or if some events are during the same day. Scenes abruptly end with another scene right after it. The connective tissue of the film isn't there and these scenes just seem disjointed, random views into Fritz's life. It's so disappointing because the rest of the film is so well done. Tenderness of Wolves is a slow moving, chilling film to watch. The setting of a war torn country coupled with indifferent, overworked police create the atmosphere where Fritz could kill practically unchecked. The performances and situations feel real. Kurt Raab's performance chills me to the bone in his ease changing his personality to whatever the situation calls for. I recommend this film, but it's not put together in the best way.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Upcoming Horror: Movies

Here are some horror films shambling to your screen soon.

* Bird Box, December 21 (Netflix)

Bird Box is one of my favorite horror novels and it seemed impossible to make into a film. The beginning where the world is falling apart is very cinematic, but whatever is changing people can't be seen. The film adaptation looks amazing with surprisingly famous actors like Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. The bicycle bells are a brilliant tool to keep her connected to her children and a creepy auditory cue. The parking sensor scare looks cool as well. I have high hopes for this and I can't wait to watch it.

* The Curse of La Llorona, April 19 (wide theatrical release)

The Conjuring Universe continues with La Llorona, a figure from Mexican folklore who lost her children and cries looking for them. I'm a little puzzled as to why this is part of that universe and why the main characters are white. The scene in the car with the kids trying to keep the ghost out is effective until the ending, which is a completely obvious, CGI jump scare. It's the style that makes James Wan films pretty mediocre despite some effective scenes. I'm not excited for this since it looks like every other Conjuring and Wan movie ever.

* Escape Room, January 4 (wide theatrical release)

 Escape Room looks like a better version of movies like Saw, Exam, or Circle. A group of desperate people are forced to share their deepest, darkest secrets and work together to solve puzzles with deadly results. Plus that little boxes song is cheerfully creepy. I'm intrigued and I will be watching. I don't expect amazingness, but I expect a decent thriller with some twists and turns.

* Happy Death Day 2U, February 14 (wide theatrical release)

For some reason, this trailer isn't online, but I've seen it in the theater. Two years after the first film, Ryan, Carter's roommate, experiences the same phenomenon that Tree did: he keeps repeating the same day after dying over and over. Tree of course has some expertise in the matter and has to delve into why it happened to her. The trailer seems to reveal that she somehow goes back in time to her ordeal repeating, but I'm not sure how that happens. I'm all in. The first one was so charming and well done that I trust the same team and cast to complicate things and take us on another wild ride.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Howling (1981)

Anchorwoman Karen White is being stalked by serial killer Eddie Quist. She's separated from the police following her and she ventures into an adult bookstore to meet him. After some traumatic events that lead to Eddie being shot by police, Karen is struck with amnesia, not able to remember what happened. She and her husband are sent to the "Colony" by her therapist for treatment. The place is inhabited by strange people and even stranger things start to happen, like her husband being attacked by a wolf.

The Howling is a classic werewolf movie that I somehow haven't seen until now. Even though I've heard about it, it doesn't seem to have the same love or appreciation as other werewolf movies such as An American in London. The Howling isn't perfect, but there are things to appreciate here: the atmosphere, the creature design, the practical effects, the use of TV, and the ending. So many scenes here are classic gothic fare with forest landscapes, fog, and fear. It's especially interesting to see this oler aesthetic merged with modern 80's aesthetics. Some scenes are intercut with scenes from a TV of big bad wolf cartoons or The Wolfman film. It acknowledges its roots and gives some humor at times. Even though it's a little meta, I loved it.

The werewolf design and transformation scenes are incredibly well done and all practical effects. Some parts of the makeup look a little fake, but most of it looks amazing. The sound of the bones breaking was disturbing as well as one werewolf digging around in his skull for a bullet lodged there. The claws and snout elongating looked realistic and very creepy. Even small details like wounds are kept through the transition. Newer films have worse looking werewolves and transformations. I'm a sucker for an idyllic setting with a dark secret and the ending was a surprise to me even through a lot of the typical tropes used. I was happy to see different types of werewolves: ones who love killing people and being werewolves, others who were coerced into it and want to die (which is sadly passed off as a joke), and still others who are satisfied fitting into human society.

Some things fell a little flat for me. The characters are all one dimensional and don't feel real. Karen is the epitome of the damsel in distress until her last scene. She barely changes through the course of the film. Her husband Bill is the slimiest guy ever and cheats on her without a second thought. Marsha, an inhabitant of the Colony, is a one dimensional seductress and it's apparent from her first appearance that she's a werewolf. While I though most were interesting, she is the one exception that I find too obvious and flat. The human characters are supposed to be the good guys, but they simply aren't as interesting.

The Howling is a fun film that is very steeped in its time. The continuing of werewolf tropes, the acknowledgement of the background, and the merging with modern aesthetics is one of the best parts of the film for me as well as the werewolves, their look, and their transformations. The ending is shocking and surprisingly sad followed immediately by a visual joke. This film is unpredictable at times and keeps you guessing which parts will follow tropes and which will diverge. I enjoyed it and I consider it required viewing for fans of werewolf films.

My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins