The coming-of-age story of Cayden Richards. Forced to hit the road after the murder of his parents, Cayden wanders, lost, without purpose... until he meets a certifiable lunatic named Wild Joe, who sets him on a path to the ominous town of Lupine Ridge, to hunt down the truths of his history. But in the end, who's really hunting whom?
One thing I will say straight away about Wolves is that the werewolves themselves are not horrible creations of CG, nor are they the normal wolves from Twilight. The problem is that they, like the movie itself, still moves all over in search of its true identity. First time director David Hayter does some good if not great work on parts of the film but in the end it really offers nothing new to the whole werewolf genre.
The movie opens with teenager Cayden Richards (Lucas Till) coming to terms with the fact that raging hormones are not what is driving his over aggressive behavior. With the discovery of his wolf alter ego and the sudden death of his parents he decides it is time to hit the road and find out what the hell is happening to him. A chance run in with a fellow man of the fur named Wild Joe (John Pyper-Ferguson) sends him to the cozy little town of Lupine Ridge.
Quickly making more enemies than friends, Cayden is kicked out the local bar with help from thug leader Connor (Jason Momoa). However, upon learning that he is looking for work he is offered help from a local farmer named John Tollerman (Stephen McHattie). While working on the farm to earn his keep, Cayden soon begins to discover not only more about himself but the wonderful townsfolk that surround him at every turn.
As I stated earlier, the werewolves themselves are not half bad. For the most part they look and feel real and when they are running together definitely give off the feeling of a pack on the hunt. Jason Momoa seems to have the best job in the movie, chewing up the scenery (sorry, bad pun) in both human and wolf form. I did feel a little bad for Cayden Richards because when he turned it was less scary and more like a combination of Teen Wolf meets Dawson’s Creek. Overall though, Hayter had an idea and stuck to it, it’s just a shame that the wolves were not a bit more consistent and creepy looking.
I will say I thought the most important roles were very well cast. Momoa and Stephen McHattie are fantastic in their roles as townsfolk with very different visions on the future of this town of furry fellows. Lucas Hill has the toughest role, portraying a coming of age teen that happens to also have a wolf gene in his family bloodline. While sometimes trying too hard, Hill does a decent job overall especially when he has to go up against veteran McHattie and budding superstar Momoa.
When writer/director Hayter decides to take the gloves off and go all primal with the werewolves, the movie has some of its best moments. The blood and gore, while limited, are a great reminder that these aren’t some of your average forest dwelling creatures. It would have been nice to see more carnage instead of some of the downright silly dialogue (especially being spoken by fully turned werewolves) but I’ll give Hayter credit to sticking to his ideas and not going overboard in the blood department.
I don’t know who decided on the soundtrack but it was a great addition to the movie. Sometimes fast but always loud and chugging along with the story, the hillbilly meets rockabilly tunes provide some great moments in the film.
It’s just too bad that the movie never finds it true identity and instead spends far too much time bouncing around different parts of the werewolf genre without settling on something it could call its own. The movie ends up being a mash up PG dialogue and corny clichés and wastes some truly great moments by Momoa and McHattie.
However, I cannot just dismiss this movie as a cop out or wannabe because it is neither of those. Hayter may not have made a perfect wolf movie, but it’s far from the worst I’ve ever seen. In truth, there is a lot of promise shown by the first time director and the sense of humor that runs throughout the movie is always nice to see. (Hey, it’s a movie that has talking werewolves, you better be able to laugh at yourself)
If you are a fan of werewolves I would check this movie out, just don’t expect it to be a horrifying gore fest or a rival of say American Werewolf in London or The Howling. It is however, a good attempt and full marks to those involved to keeping the werewolf look real.
+ Director David Hayter does well in his first time in the big chair
+ Stephen McHattie and Jason Momoa are perfectly cast in the roles
+ The werewolves are not CG creations.
- Silly dialogue and disposable characters hurt the movie
- The movies searches for an identity and never really finds one
- Too PG; not nearly dark or daring enough