ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Bad Moon (1996)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Eric Red

Starring:
Mariel Hemingway/Janet
Michael Pare/Ted
Mason Gamble/Brett
Primo/Thor
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Photo journalist Ted (Pare) moves in with his sister and her son. He’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 Ted’s tail, following him around, staring him down and pissing on his trailer. It’s a canine war…Michael Pare vs a German Sheppard.
THE LOWDOWN
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 it’s strength lies in the conflict between Ted and Thor the dog. (I hear the book is all from the dog’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" don’t affect the movie either way. What hurts the film is the chemistry between Pare and Hemingway. It’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 they’re siblings. I know she’s suppose to be his sister…enough with that "sis", "little brother" shite. Pare could call her "sis" 200 times and the chemistry still won’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 doesn’t help the illusion. Putting the werewolf in the shadows a bit wouldn’t have hurt…the wolf puppet reminded me that I was watching a movie…not good. But the biggest disappointment is the "transformation" finale, they used computer morphing and it looks like…well…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, what’s going on between Ted and Thor is fascinating too watch, there’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 there…yes it has it’s faults but I still have a finger on that hand reserved for Bad Moon. Howl at this…
GORE
Sunday Bloody Sunday. There’s a great scene where a werewolf gets his head blown off by a shotgun…juicy. We also get bloody wolf attacks.
ACTING
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 she’s not sharing scenes with Pare. Her performance with Pare seems forced (filled with phony giggles)…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 he’s not much different than other child actors…you guessed it…he’s annoying. Primo (Thor) should get the best Canine actor award. His eyes are so expressive and we always see the character…impressive…woof woof.
T & A
Any movie that gives us a fine pair of breasts in the first five minutes can’t be bad. And girl’s…Pare is naked in this one and you almost see his friendly pet snake.
DIRECTING
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.
SOUNDTRACK
The film boasts an excellent score, very eerie...
BOTTOM LINE
In a world full of lousy "Howling" sequels, it’s refreshing to see a werewolf movie that’s actually good. Yes we’ve seen all this before but this film has a "gimmick" that really works: the werewolf’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 out…it’ll give you a few things to howl about.
BULL'S EYE
This flick was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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