Director: Jeremy Wooding
Script: Alan Wightman
Cast: Shaun Dooley, George Blagden, Anna Skellern, Ian Whyte, Raffaello Degruttola, Jack Fox, Eleanor Matsuura, Amber Jean Rowan
Running time: 82 minutes
Set in Colorado in the late 19th Century, Blood Moon is a bit of an oddity in that it’s a mash-up between the horror genre and the Western genre, but all the more interesting for that collision of styles.
When the Norton brothers (Jeb and Hank) rob a bank in the town of Lassiter, killing a man in the process, and then leg it to the far more remote hamlet of Pine Flats, they unwittingly begin a chain of grisly events that will eventually see them going head to head with a full-bloodied lycanthrope. And when they hold a stagecoach full of people hostage the stage (sorry!) is set for a final encounter of the hairy kind.
In amongst the stagecoach party are Calhoun (Shaun Dooley), a mysterious gunslinger, Henry, a journalist, an ex-madam, Marie, and a newly married couple, Sarah and Wade. A pecking order is soon established and social politics soon rears its ugly head as the group come face to face first with the nasty Nortons and then with the even nastier werewolf. As the creature starts taking out the group one by one, we, the audience, get to play the ever fun, ‘who will survive to the end of the film’ game!
Blood Moon has a great central premise, that of cowboys Vs. the Wolf man and on that score it doesn’t disappoint since there’s plenty of werewolf action, although you don’t really see the creature until the last 15 mins or so. However, I suspect that was mainly due to lack of budget though.
The period details are very good and the sets (actually a real Western town, in Kent) really add to the dirty, grim atmosphere. The writer has also tried to give a fresh spin on the werewolf subgenre by introducing a bit more Native American ‘Skinwalker’ mythology to proceedings.
The film is well shot, and the music suits the visuals, although it’s not the sort of soundtrack I’d buy separately. The acting was reasonable, although Dooley’s American accent was rather variable at times.
On the negative side, the village of Pine Flats seemed to become a ghost town overnight, which had me wondering ‘where’s everyone gone?’ Parts of the film felt a bit like a Western re-enactment group had got together one weekend to make a horror movie, although the film overcomes that slight vibe with its ambitious nature and decent special effects. And talking of special effects, the wolf man looked quite cool in some shots, and then a bit like a wolfed-up version of the ‘honey monster’ in others! I also found the pacing of the film was a little ‘up and down’ – at times the tension seemed to be building nicely and then something would happen that would destroy all the good work thus far, which was a shame really.
There seems to be an idea that one of the main characters might return in future for further adventures although, personally, I thought this character wasn’t charismatic enough to go on to further features, but that’s just my opinion.
Overall I thought Blood Moon was a decent British stab at a genre that isn’t normally associated with England, let alone the flatlands of Kent! It certainly managed to entertain me and hold my interest throughout. It’s certainly worth a look…
Studiocanal are distributing Blood Moon on DVD and Blu-ray. Extras mainly consist of a making-of documentary, broken down into various sections including:
Creature feature (6 mins) – the director talks about why he wanted to make a ‘creature feature’;
From Kent to Colorado (9.5 mins) – the filmmakers discuss how they cheated the viewer, as the film was actually shot in Kent, UK;
Mad Moon (4 mins) – how the cast and crew had to deal with all the mud on set;
SFX & VFX (7 mins) – the special effects guys talk about how it was all done;
Stagecoach (5 mins) – the crew talk about how the stagecoach prop was used and reveal that it was actually standing still for most of the time;
The cast of Blood Moon (5.5 mins) – the director and producer talk about rehearsals and how the cast came together;
The crew speaks (4 mins) – we find out that it was a hard four week shoot, but we get to hang out with lots of the crew, right from the sound recordist to the DoP and production designer, which makes for a refreshing change;
The gore (4 mins) – the sfx guys talk about the more practical effects used.
We also get a fairly cool trailer for the film.