Yell! Magazine’s review of Red: Werewolf Hunter:
“Many, many moons ago, almost too many to count, in a small village deep within the forest, there lived a young girl with hair as red as the setting sun.” It’s not quite “In a galaxy far, far away,” but it’s the opener for 2010′s Red: Werewolf Hunter.
Normally I’m not one for werewolves, but when I saw Felicia Day’s name attached to this one, I decided that I needed to watch it at once. And that’s one of the only reasons to watch this film, believe you me – but we’ll get into that in a second. Let me preface this review by saying that this was a made-for-SyFy movie and I reckon that the actors used sandpapery one-ply toilet paper to supplement more important things like the CGI budget. But this is still a movie that sets the made-for-SyFy movie bar a little higher than usual. Then again, our first tip probably should have been the fact that it wasn’t called Sexy Wolf Hunter and MegaCroc Vs. The Lycans.
Felicia Day plays the descendant of Little Red Riding Hood, and she’s given stylish red boots in place of an actual hood. The whole werewolf hunter occupation is a family affair, and every firstborn daughter in a generation is honorarily called Red. Virginia “Red” Sullivan is bringing her workaholic fiance Nathan (Kavan Smith, TV’s Eureka) home for the first time to meet her family, which includes her wizened grandmother (Rosemary Dunsmore, Orphan), stereotypical hard-ass/jerk-ass cop and older brother Marcus (Greg Bryk, A History of Violence), and wise-cracking younger brother Jake (David Reale, TV’s Skins). All the characters are astoundingly flat; you can’t really get absorbed in the story because you can tell that these were people with bills to pay, rather than actors who were truly honing their craft and committed to bringing you the best werewolf ass-kickin’ experience that cable has to offer.
They're hunting werewolves and not hoping the Ex-Lax kicks in soon, really.
The movie would probably have been better off had the plot been a solid humorous “fiance goes home to meet the folks” story. But oh no, nothing can ever be so simple. A man is immediately mauled by a werewolf despite the fact that the full moon isn’t expected for a while, which leaves the werewolf hunters on edge and Nathan asking the usual, “What is going on here?” type of questions.
The Sullivan family is a little guarded about their background and we come to learn that there’s a nearby pack of werewolves that the Sullivans have a shaky truce with. This peace is being tested by a werewolf named Gabriel (Stephen McHattie, Immortals) who has learned to shape shift, no matter what time of the month it is. After the big reveal to Nathan about werewolves and hunters, he’s in predictable denial and decides to venture off in the forest alone. What you expect to happen, happens, and Nathan is turned into a werewolf. And only then does Red: Werewolf Hunter become personal, but not quite personal enough for the cast to be enthused about acting out this horror/romance romp that has no real heart.
Felicia Day, if you ever read this, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you took this part, and I’m sorry that I’m being such a bitch in this review, but we both know it’s true, just like that Milli Vanilli song: “Girl, you know this shit is true.” I wish I could say that Ms. Day is the best part of Red: Werewolf Hunter, but Stephen McHattie steals the show as Gabriel, the vaguely noir-looking werewolf villain. He channels Lance Henriksen splendidly and does the best he can with the material, which is a little more than I can say for the rest of the cast.
Alright, alright, Felicia Day isn’t that bad in this role. As any of you familiar with her work will know, she’s very good at vulnerable, and she pulls it off here, but ultimately, her slightly less naive than normal portrayal of Red isn’t enough to make you want to sit through the whole movie. Red and Nathan have no real chemistry together and you almost kind of wish that one of them would die from the very start so you could be spared the inevitable romantic subplot that fuels this SyFy stillbirth.
The CGI effects that I mentioned earlier are cheap even by SyFy standards. The lack of actual action in the action sequences leaves more than something to be desired. It seems like we’re treated to a lot of scenes of the characters “gearing up” before a fight rather than putting forth any actual effort into the downfall of any werewolves. There’s a lot of rehashing of the werewolf mythos and family dynamic that comes into play, but it’s not enough to save this sinking ship from going the way of the Titanic. (Hell, Titanic With Werewolves sounds like a better movie than this.)
All that intent staring isn't going to help them find plot development…
Red: Werewolf Hunter is a tough review for me, as I really wanted to like this movie. It would have been far better as the premise for a TV show – there’s a lot of good elements here that are handled in a rushed, forced manner. With the right cast, this would have made a great pilot. It’s one of those movies best viewed on a Saturday afternoon when you have nothing to do but recover from Friday night with a few more 40s and your funniest homeboys – because oh Lord, you’re going to want a running commentary for this.
For my closing thought: Felicia Day is pretty. That is all.
- Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
- Year Released:
- 30 October 2010
- Sheldon Wilson
- Felicia Day, Kavan Smith, Greg Bryk, Rosemary Dunsmore, David Reale, Carlyn Burchell, Argiris Karras, Victoria Robertson, and Stephen McHattie
- Fantasy, Horror
- Official URL: