Director: David Hayter
Screenplay: David Hayter
Starring: Lucas Till, Stephen McHattie, John Pyper Ferguson, Merritt Patterson, Jason Momoa
Running Time: 87 mins
BBFC Classification: 15
When hormonally-challenged high school student Cayden (Lucas Till – Stoker) wakes to find his parents brutally murdered at home and he appears to be a prime suspect – he has some blood on his hands and shirt following a blackout – he goes on the run and finds himself drawn to the small mountain town of ‘Lupine Ridge’, where he discovers the bizarre truth of his dark and violent heritage.
The town is home to two feuding clans of werewolves, and Cayden discovers, through the kindly mentoring of a farmer, John Tellerman, (played by Stephen McHattie – 300) and his family, why things are about to get rather hairy for him too. Cayden quickly finds himself at odds with brutal clan alpha male and pureblood lycan Conner (Jason Momoa – Game of Thrones) when he falls for local bar-keeper Angelina (Merritt Patterson – The Hole) who Conner also has eyes, mind and loins set on.
Things get worse when Conner and his gang kidnap Angelina for a pureblood mating ceremony and vagrant Wild Joe (John Pyper Ferguson) wanders into town to stir things up a bit more with additional information that could tear the town apart.
Wolves is David Hayter’s directorial debut and it shares much of the same kinetic energy as his recently scripted hits ‘Watchmen’ and ‘X-Men’). The film starts as it means to go on with a violent clash on a football field with Cayden leaping a long way to smash into an opponent who has just knocked him down. Cayden thinks he’s losing it, and we the audience aren’t sure what we’ve just witnessed, a one off or the burgeoning ability for a trainee wolf-man…
Wolves is not only nicely shot, but is nicely realised with regard to the werewolf mythology it builds into the back story of the various clans. The idea of pureblood werewolves coming over from Europe and Russia during previous centuries and expanding their blood lines in small, out-of-the-way rural townships is quite a good one, somewhat similar in feel to ‘The Howling’ books by Gary Brandner.
The more obvious bad guy here, played well by the very striking Momoa, is a great villain with a wonderful physical presence and oodles of cannibalistic charisma. Jason pretty much steals every scene he’s in and one can see why he’s most certainly a rising star. The rest of the cast play their roles well, although I wasn’t bowled over by the lead, Lucas Till.
Director Hayter keeps things lively throughout, including a werewolf sex scene in a barn, and Wolves is paced so briskly you don’t really have time to acknowledge some of the plot points that don’t work as well as they should. The make-up effects are striking and well realised (it was nice to see old school latex effects in the main), although it can all look a bit silly at times, at least until the next bit of bloody carnage ensues to take your mind off the daftness of it all! Hayter has also secreted a little intentional humour into the mix and there are some amusing lines from time to time. Wolves certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously. The ending also nicely sets up a potential sequel, which, I for one, would quite like to see.
Wolves has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by Altitude Film Entertainment. The special features on the disc include a couple of deleted scenes – one of a news report about Cayden, and the other a slightly longer scene where Cayden meets Conner in the barn for the first time – and a gag reel that plays more like outtakes set to a musical montage.