Director: Paul Hyett
Writer: Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler.
Starring: Ed Speleers, Shauna MacDonald, Rosie Day, Sean Pertwee, Duncan Preston
Running Time: 95 minutes
BBFC Certificate: TBC
Paul Hyett, director of “The Seasoning House” let’s Howl off the leash, I wonder what it could be about. Are zombies dead, have we moved on to lycan werewolves? Werewolf shocks, on the rise, a plethora of new lycanthrope frights are hitting our screens and Howl adds to the list of Hairy werewolfery.
Train guard Joe (Ed Speleers) is having a bad day, he’s not got that promotion he wanted and to top it all, his arch rival has landed the top job, taking great delight in assigning Joe to the night train. His night is only brightened up when he realises Ellen (Holly Weston, 'Dementamania') is in charge of refreshments on the fated train out of London. A motley selection of passengers aboard the doomed train and Joe weathers the humiliation of checking train tickets amongst a barrage of abuse. The train jolts to a halt … I wonder what we have hit…here we go. Train driver Sean Pertwee, of 'Dog Soldiers' fame sets off to find out what is appertaining, well that’s mistake number one. When Joe can’t find the driver the whacky selection of passengers start to get a bit uppity. The half-witted travellers are soon convinced by Adrian (Elliot Cowan, The Golden Compass) to get off the train and walk to safety…are you kidding me… mistake number two. The lumbering buffoons stumble along the train track in a bid for safety, but pretty soon they are spooked as they realise that something wrong and hairy is lurking in the woods. They scramble in a mad panic to get back on board, but dithering geriatric Jenny (Ania Marson) fails to keep up and something un-earthy grabs her leg, slamming her from floor to ceiling while trapped in the door. Jenny has been bitten,the infection has been administered, sadly for the train passengers instead of filling her full of silver they decide to leave her to recover and as you guessed, she makes a Lycantropic change for the worse and on-slaught ensues.
Furred hybrids assault the terrified dim-wits cowering on the night train and the hairy antics abound, there’s plenty of oozing blood, as werewolves work their way through the tasty morsels on offer. It’s enjoyable and unpretentious with a certain Hammeresk charm, helped by a nicely directed introduction to the passengers. We get to know and engage with the passengers remarkably quickly, an achievement many films struggle to accomplish, so we do actually want to find out what happens to the gormless sacrifice’s.
The lurking monstrosities are a fusion of Lamberto Bava’s silhouetted, glowing eyed 'Demons' and Juan Martinez Moreno’s CGI free therianthropic beasts from 'Attack of the Werewolves'. A good build at inception fails to reach full tension potential in the climax, but it is still a delightfully hairy romp through the British countryside. To add further to the mystery we don't find out the origins our shaggy humanoid buddies, are they London bankers? Last train, full moon, all change.
Interesting Fact: There were actually werewolf trials in France and Germany where people were hanged and found guilty of lycanthropy from the 15th century through to the 17th century.
Howl will be released on the 16th October, the DVD quality is top-notch with excellent sound, the DVD I reviewed did not contain any extras.