Bad Moon (1996)
Director: Eric Red
Photo journalist Ted (Pare) moves in with his sister and her son. Heâ€™s harboring a dark secret: at night he becomes a werewolf and turns innocent civilians into "Kibbles N Bits". Nobody suspects a thing except the family dog Thor (Primo). Thor knows a thing or too about a thing or too. The pooch is on Tedâ€™s tail, following him around, staring him down and pissing on his trailer. Itâ€™s a canine warâ€¦Michael Pare vs a German Sheppard.
Eric Red has written great screenplays: The Hitcher, Near Dark, Blue Steel (the 2 latter co-written with Kathryn Bigelow). Bad Moon is no exception. Based on the book "Thor", Bad Moon is well written and itâ€™s strength lies in the conflict between Ted and Thor the dog. (I hear the book is all from the dogâ€™s point of view). First off kudos to the dog trainers, they did a great job. Thor is the most developed character in the whole film and I relished every "stare downs", "fight scenes" and intimidation tactics he had versus Ted. I have never seen a dog in a movie with so much personality and so much emphasis accorded to him, very original, very entertaining. The rest of the film is fairly standard Werewolf fare. Yes they discard a few Werewolf rules, in this flick the wolf changes every night not just on a full moon and regular bullets are as effective as silver ones. Those little "variations" donâ€™t affect the movie either way.
What hurts the film is the chemistry between Pare and Hemingway. Itâ€™s non existent. Having Pare call Hemingway "sis" all the time made me feel as if they were trying to force feed the fact that theyâ€™re siblings. I know sheâ€™s suppose to be his sisterâ€¦enough with that "sis", "little brother" shite. Pare could call her "sis" 200 times and the chemistry still wonâ€™t be there.
Another problem is the werewolf himself. He looks good but he looks fake. Especially in the scenes with the dog. Having a real animal stand next to a fake one doesnâ€™t help the illusion. Putting the werewolf in the shadows a bit wouldnâ€™t have hurtâ€¦the wolf puppet reminded me that I was watching a movieâ€¦not good. But the biggest disappointment is the "transformation" finale, they used computer morphing and it looks likeâ€¦wellâ€¦computer morphing. No "American Werewolf In London" transformation sequence here. The morphing looks sloppy and feels awkward.
But I will give merit when merit is due. The pace of the film is fast, whatâ€™s going on between Ted and Thor is fascinating too watch, thereâ€™s some nice gore and the last 15 minutes will take your breath away. I can count on one hand, how many decent werewolf flicks are out thereâ€¦yes it has itâ€™s faults but I still have a finger on that hand reserved for Bad Moon. Howl at thisâ€¦
Sunday Bloody Sunday. Thereâ€™s a great scene where a werewolf gets his head blown off by a shotgunâ€¦juicy. We also get bloody wolf attacks.
Michael Pare (Ted) really downplays it. Sometimes it works, sometimes he looks like he wants to go home, call his agent and fire him. On a whole I bought it, specially the scenes with the dog but when he shares scenes with "Hemingway" he shifts into "mediocre acting", spitting lines and not seeming to care. Mariel Hemingway (Janet) is good when sheâ€™s not sharing scenes with Pare. Her performance with Pare seems forced (filled with phony giggles)â€¦did these too hate each other off set?? Was Pare nailing Hemingway on the side??? Something is very off. "Sans" Pare she does fine. Mason Gamble (Brett) is a little kid and heâ€™s not much different than other child actorsâ€¦you guessed itâ€¦heâ€™s annoying. Primo (Thor) should get the best Canine actor award. His eyes are so expressive and we always see the characterâ€¦impressiveâ€¦woof woof.
T & A
Any movie that gives us a fine pair of breasts in the first five minutes canâ€™t be bad. And girlâ€™sâ€¦Pare is naked in this one and you almost see his friendly pet snake.
Red does fine but he stands out when he directs "suspense/action" sequences. We get lots of dog POV shots (don't dogs see in black and white?), lots of close ups (specially dog eyes and Pare eyes) and some slow motion. The last 15 minutes is an edge of your seat ride. The movie looks good but I for one would have liked a bit more style.
The film boasts an excellent score, very eerie...
In a world full of lousy "Howling" sequels, itâ€™s refreshing to see a werewolf movie thatâ€™s actually good. Yes weâ€™ve seen all this before but this film has a "gimmick" that really works: the werewolfâ€™s foe is a dog. The tension between the dog and Pare makes it all worth it and the final fight scene is a kickass canine boxing match. Check this one outâ€¦itâ€™ll give you a few things to howl about.
This flick was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia.