Support Us!
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!



Monday, November 28, 2022

‘Howl’ – Vicious 2015 Horror Movie Is ‘Train to Busan’ With Werewolves

After working on the special effects for The Descent and Attack the Block, it only made sense for Paul Hyett to direct his own monster movie. And once he boarded Howl, his second directed feature overall, Hyett made the considerable decision to remove most of the humor from Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler’s original script. The choice worked in the 2015 movie’s favor, because as inherently difficult as it is to make a werewolf movie, it’s even harder to pull off a scary horror-comedy. Playing everything straight not only helped Howl maintain a consistent tone, but also reminded viewers of why werewolves are so terrifying to begin with.

A dark and remote forest is a good place to find trouble, yet the characters in Howl believe themselves to be safe. Their late-night journey by train typically passes through a long stretch of wilderness without incident, though that sense of security quickly wanes as an accident strands the skeleton crew and passengers in the middle of nowhere. And the only thing now standing between them and the dangers lurking in the nearby woods is a routinely mistreated train guard named Joe (Ed Speleers).

Another movie would prefer to show a sneak preview of the hirsute monsters in store. Howl, on the other hand, keeps its beasts hidden until the third act. Their presence is indeed detected sooner, especially when the train driver — Sean Pertwee really has the worst luck in werewolf movies, doesn’t he? — pops out to assess the damage caused by a hapless deer on the tracks. Up until the big reveal, the story relies on its human characters to build the tension and lay out the logistics of this terror train.


Joe’s night is already off to a bad start before the clan of hungry lycans shows up. Speleers’ character is a browbeaten and disheartened everyman who takes it from all sides. He’s first passed over for a promotion, and worst of all, the supervisor position went to Brett Goldstein’s loathsome character David. Then once Joe is convinced to work an immediate second shift, a red-eye to Eastborough, several of the train’s passengers disparage him for doing his job. However, the most humiliating moment for Joe is without question when he’s turned down by his other coworker and the object of his affection, Ellen (Holly Weston). Joe’s evening only gets worse from here on out.

Contemporary horror habitually studies the hierarchical system of werewolves, directly or otherwise. From Dog Soldiers to True Blood, these stories often take a look at the pecking order of these monsters. Howl doesn’t go into too much detail about its antagonists apart from some vague history told by an elderly passenger, so the movie uses Joe to examine the relationship between alphas and betas. Right from the start, Joe is deemed a beta; he bends to David’s will, he lets the passengers step all over him, and when things get hairy, the women initially all turn to Elliot Cowan’s more confident and take-charge character Adrian.

As much as Joe is depicted as weak and ineffectual in the beginning, he eventually asserts himself in a time of crisis. He proves there is no one way to lead people. While Joe tries to keep this varied bunch of characters under control in the thick of a werewolf attack, he starts showing signs of an alpha. Taking out what looks to be the werewolves’ own alpha doesn’t hurt how others see him, either. Joe finally starts to feel some power after being deprived for so long. The movie of course illustrates this point with less subtlety by the end when it comes time for the surviving werewolves to elect a new leader.


After complaints about all the sterilized werewolves in 21st-century pop culture, Howl is a bracing return to these creatures’ brutal origins. Surely no classic monster has had a harder time coming to life on the screen than the werewolf; for every silver example is a lesser beast undone by mediocre effects or diluted depictions. Quite the opposite, Howl’s delivery is extraordinarily vicious and unkind. The werewolves themselves have a grotesque and strangely withered look to them; their gnarly appearance is something the director likened to the inbred cannibals in Wrong Turn. They have unique designs, no doubt. There is a collective groan from the audience whenever CGI is used for the werewolves, but those instances of practical effects make up for that minor drawback.

Shortly before Train to Busan took the world by storm, Howl used a similar setup, albeit on a reduced scale. Both movies succeed because they each realized the potential of a displaced monster. It’s where these creatures are least likely to show up that they can do the most damage. Peril is sure to come up inside a creepy castle or a foreboding forest, but an everyday location like a commuter train isn’t where someone expects to find zombies, or in this case, werewolves. Hyett certainly doesn’t break new ground here; the idea of otherworldly threats invading human spaces isn’t novel. How he goes about showing this fatal encounter, however, is what sets his movie apart from others like it.

Howl‘s basic concept is intriguing enough to pique someone’s interest, but the tenebrous atmosphere and the harsh execution are what keep them watching. And while it might seem like werewolf horror peaked long ago, a movie like Howl proves there’s always room for new blood.

Horrors Elsewhere is a recurring column that spotlights a variety of movies from all around the globe, particularly those not from the United States. Fears may not be universal, but one thing is for sure — a scream is understood, always and everywhere.


The post ‘Howl’ – Vicious 2015 Horror Movie Is ‘Train to Busan’ With Werewolves appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!