The panel for WOLVES, a new horror film from David Hayter (screenwriter of WATCHMEN and X-MEN), started the best way possible: with Jason Momoa screaming at the top of his lungs and scaring the hell out of the crowd in attendance. No, he wasn’t about to go all Conan on us, it was just a war-cry to signal the commencement of the show. Or it’s just how he always makes an entrance; could be both.
WOLVES is a film about Cayden Richards (Lucas Till), 18, who seemingly has it all: Captain of the high school football team; straight-A student; gorgeous girlfriend. But when he wakes one dark night to find his parents brutally murdered, he is horrified to realize that he is turning into an animal: a wild, savage wolf.
Cayden runs, determined to find out what is happening to him. His quest leads him to the strange, isolated town of Lupine Ridge, where two clans of wolves are on the brink of war. The opposing clans are lead by Connor, the powerful, pure-blood alpha of a savage pack and John Tollerman, an old farmer, committed to protecting the human citizens of Lupine Ridge.
The panel included Hayter (who essentially acted as moderator), Momoa, fresh-faced actress Merritt Patterson, producer Benedict Carver, and make-up artist Dave Elsey.
Hayter showed us a couple of clips and a full-length trailer. Here’s what we saw:
-Danny (Till) is working as a farmhand for an old man (Stephen McHattie). One day he is confronted by Connor (Momoa), who apparently runs things in the town as the leader of a pack of werewolves. One of Connor’s friends has been beaten up by Till, which does not sit will with Connor. He makes it pretty clear to Danny that they’ll be crossing paths again, and when he leaves, Danny asks the old man “Who is that guy?” The old man responds, “You don’t want to know.”
In the next clip, Danny is in full-on wolf mode, as is Connor and his pack. A werewolf fight ensues in the woods, which is refreshingly devoid of CGI but still a little iffy in the effects department. The issue I have is that while the werewolf make-up is impressive, I don’t take them seriously. They’re certainly not scary; they look a little bit like more sophisticated versions of Teen Wolf. I also thought of Beast in X-MEN: THE LAST STAND a little bit.
- David Hayter calls WOLVES a fresh take on the werewolf genre. The film eschews typical horror conventions to concentrate more on the action elements and the “hero’s journey” of its protagonist.
- Hayter was apparently approached by producer’s to come up with this fresh take. He’s not friends with these producers anymore, nor are they credited on the movie. He didn’t elaborate, but that sounds like juicy behind-the-scenes gossip.
- The budget evidently went down quite a few notches from where it started as development continued; Hayter wrote approximately 13 drafts of the script. Still, there are a bevy of international financiers on the film (most of them French), and is a completely independent production.
- There is werewolf sex in the film. It took three days to film a sex scene where the two actors start off as humans and evolve into werewolves during the lovemaking. By the end, both man and woman are full-on werewolf. Pretty kinky stuff.
- WOLVES is called “crazy, scary and honest” by Momoa, who also indicates that the film gets really crazy at the end... Because werewolf sex in the middle isn’t crazy enough?!
- Momoa actually spent time with real wolves to learn more about their personalities. He ended up adopting one, although evidently it doesn't like Jason because it knows he's the "alpha."