DVD Review: Werewolf Rising

Starring: Melissa Carnell, Matt Copko, Brian Berry
Director: BC Furtney
Rating: 4/10

vlcsnap-2014-09-06-15h23m34s156After an absence of twenty years, Emma (Melissa Carnell) returns home to the old family homestead on the edge of the woods, only to experience a complete absence of peace and quiet. For starters, Johnny Lee (Matt Copko), a beardy, beady-eyed escaped convict is hanging around at all hours. And then there’s old family friend Wayne (Brian Berry) – he takes a keen interest in her, but is it just paternal or is it something more? Then Johnny Lee gets bitten by a mysterious creature in the forest, and before you can say, “Down, boy!” he’s eating nauseating scraps, gulping water and running under the full moon.

For a good part of the time, BC Furtney’s low budget horror channels a slightly cleaned vlcsnap-2014-09-06-15h29m20s41up Winter’s Bone vibe. Everyone has something wrong with them: Emma and Wayne are both recovering alcohols, Johnny Lee is an ex-drug addict. They’re all out here in the sticks, presumably, because they just can’t cut it in civilisation. Looking convincingly fragile, Melissa Carnell makes a good fist of her role, and the tension tightens as she helps the sickly, wounded Johnny Lee inside her little cabin, then puzzles over why he seems to be getting better rather than worse.

vlcsnap-2014-09-06-15h25m40s124Most of this has some merit. All the same, it would be nice if the werewolf could have arrived on the scene a bit sooner, and that when it did it could have been a bit more convincing. As it is, it’s like watching someone being attacked by the contents of a horsehair sofa.

Still, the film puts a low-powered middle section behind it and bucks up considerably for an eventful last twenty minutes or so, with a snarling, bullet-riddled showdown and the unexpected appearance of a mysterious naked lady in the woods (ably played by the very striking Irena Murphy, and it’s a shame the director didn’t think to flesh out her part a bit more), followed by a kind of nightmare firelit orgy. Yes, you think, watching those scenes, now that’s what a werewolf movie should be like.

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