Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Howling Reborn (Blu-ray Review)

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
On the eve of his high school graduation, Will Kidman (Liboiron) finally looks up from his books to catch the eye of the girl he’s longed for the last four years –the mysterious Eliana Wynter (Shaw). He’s always been the shy kid, flying under the radar, but when he discovers a dark secret from his past— that he is heir to a powerful line of werewolves -- he finds he has a choice to make between succumbing to his primal nature, or turning against his own, and maintaining his humanity. In order to fight the destiny of his legacy, and save Eliana – as well as himself – he must battle not only his growing blood lust but an army of fearsome beasts bent on killing him, Eliana...and then, us all.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)

The Howling Reborn stars Landon Liboiron (TV's Terra Nova) as Will Kidman.  Will's mother was killed while she was pregnant with him, but eventful has happened since.  Will has lived a quiet, unassuming life and is about to graduate high school.  Will's mother was an artist and he too has a talent for art.  He has spent much of his days sketching a girl he's never spoken to, Eliana (Lindsey Shaw).

Just in time for Halloween, Anchor Bay releases The Howling Reborn on Blu-ray.  Whether or not you have seen previous Howling movies really does not matter.  This movie certainly stands on its own.  I didn't actually put enough thought into it to decide if it’s a sequel or prequel or unrelated to The Howling.  I decided it doesn't’s a werewolf movie.  I'm very excited to have a new werewolf movie because my existence has been very vampire-centric lately.

Almost in an instant, Will catches the eye of Eliana as he discovers that werewolves exist and he is destined to become one of them.  His first glimpse of a werewolf comes at a high school party, one where he has also been given drugs.  For a while, Will ignores the signs, but eventually he turns to his horror movie enthusiast best friend to find out the qualities of lycanthropes and how to determine if he is one. Will has to decide if he will accept his fate and join the pack, or fight his nature and retain his humanity.  Amazingly, Eliana finds out what he is and wants to be one too.  Where most people would run screaming, she asks him to share the curse adding to the choices Will has before him.

I enjoyed The Howling Reborn immensely more than I expected.  I caution viewers not to question any of it...just go with it.  Yes, the story is quite predictable.  Yes, they make a point of saying that Will won the silver debate trophy, and it’s really lucky it’s sitting in the school because silver hurts werewolves. The werewolves look pretty good and the acting is decent which is all that I hope for. I can't remember ever thinking a werewolf movie was spectacular. My one major complaint was that the alpha wolf kept transforming back and forth from human to werewolf throughout the high school and always remembered to keep a robe with her to cover her naked human form. That's where they lost me. 

Other than that small detail, I was totally on board with the believability throughout the movie. My only other complaint about the movie was the actress chosen to play Eliana.  It seems to me that the "hot girl" should have been hotter.  This was more of a Megan Fox type of role. It was not believable that Lindsey Shaw was turning heads in her high school. She would've made a much more convincing nerd than a hottie as depicted in the film.

Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Howling Reborn is presented in Widescreen 1.78:1 ratio.  Not only did skin tones look natural, but the wolf fur did as well.  There were many rich red blood tones and overall the video quality is good.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)

The Howling Reborn is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Sound.  Dialogue is clear and consistent throughout.  I never felt as though I was surrounded by howling werewolves.  I expected to hear the side channels rocking with lychans but they just weren't.

Special Features (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)

I admit to not being able to find the special features at first.  Once I realized I had to scroll to the right, I was disappointed there were only two.  The "making of" was more comprehensive than most I've seen, but there was no blooper reel or even deleted scenes.

  • The Making of The Howling Reborn - A behind the scenes look at making The Howling Reborn featuring interviews with cast and crew.  There is also early script readings and audition footage.
  • Audio Commentary - Commentary with Writer/Director Joe Nimziki and Lindsey Shaw.
  • Storyboard Gallery - Scroll through storyboard images related to the movie.

Final Thoughts  (3 out of 5 stars)

The Howling Reborn is supposed to be a reboot of the 80's flick.  Whenever I hear reboot I cringe because I think that it means someone couldn't come up with any new ideas and decided to redo someone else's work.  With The Howling Reborn, I decided not to go back and re-watch the previous movies and just watch it as its own movie.  Fortunately, it turned out to be entertaining but not great, but it was good and that's miles better than I ever expected.  I really like the film's young star Landon Liboiron and look forward to seeing more from him in the future.  As with most horror flicks you can pick it apart all day or just go with it and enjoy it - without super high expectations. 

Order your copy today!

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