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Review: Wolves (2014)

Director: David Hayter | 91 minutes | action, horror | Actors: Lucas Till, Jason Momoa, Merritt Patterson, Jennifer Hale, Stephen McHattie, John Pyper-Ferguson, Kaitlyn Leeb, Alain Moussi, Adam Butcher, Miriam McDonald, Melanie Scrofano, Adam MacDonald, Robert Homer Mollohan, Matthew Currie Holmes, Azra Valani

Suppose you lead an ordinary life in a wealthy and happy family. Your parents have always taken good care of you. At school you are one of the most popular young people. Quarterback on the football team, the prettiest girl for a girlfriend. Apparently life doesn’t seem to get any better. But you still get the feeling that you don’t belong in that good life. Ominous dreams have plagued the mind for weeks. When you wake up unsuspectingly one morning, clothes smeared with blood, it turns out that your parents are literally torn to pieces. On the run you discover more and more strange changes in yourself. In a village with peers you eventually learn more about yourself. You turn out to be a werewolf.

It happens to Cayden (Lucas Till) in Wolves. At first glance, the seems to be navigating between the “Harry Potter” series and the “Twilight” films. The voyage of discovery for an identity, the struggle for acceptance and love and the danger of an omnipresent evil. It all looks recognizable. But appearances can be deceiving. Ultimately, “Wolves” has more to do with campy b-movies like film classic “From Dusk Till Dawn” (Robert Rodriguez; 1996). That is a comparison that “Wolves” cannot win. Before that, the film lacks the sharp irony, dialogues and visual expansions that characterize Rodriguez’s cult film.

Things immediately go wrong in “Wolves” in the opening scene. Cayden’s situation is explained at a fast pace and under the guidance of a voice-over. Quasi-stylistic acceleration and deceleration techniques and bright sound effects mask the fact that this introduction has little to do. Moreover, it immediately comes across as explanatory. There is no question of an exciting anymore. The cannot escape that low level in the sequel. “Wolves” gets stuck in silly clichés, laughable plot twists and flawed dialogues full of equally flawed one-liners. The villain on duty is especially trying hard to look bad. The family feud that underlies the story doesn’t bring anything new. Predictably enough, the twist at the end should not be missing.

It might make for an entertaining movie if the makers hadn’t taken the whole thing so seriously. The acting is also not to write home about, although fortunately the actors clearly enjoy it. Barring a few more or less successful witticisms, “Wolves” nowhere manages to rise above this level. It is therefore very debatable whether the may bear the b-film predicate.

It’s ludicrously wrong and bad what Wolves is showing here. Those scenes that provide a conscious smile and the enthusiastic acting save the from an absolute failure. The filmmakers are not completely without expertise either. However, it does not contain more than one and a half encouragement stars.

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