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DARKWOLF

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Samaire Armstrong, Ryan Alosio, Andrea Bogart, Jaime Bergman, Alexis Cruz, Kane Hodder, Steven Williams, Tippi Hedren
Director: Richard Friedman
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Video: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 94 Minutes
Release Date: April 15, 2003

“Well, if it isn’t the big, bad, wolf!”

Film *

Okay, before I can even begin reviewing this movie, I have to tell you that while watching it, I couldn’t get the story of the three little pigs out of my head.   People were dying, and blood was flowing, and all I could think was, “And I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!”   Want to know the saddest part?  A movie about the three little pigs would have been much better than this one!

Darkwolf is a tail about a purebred female werewolf who is getting ready to go through the change.  No, not menopause, but she’ll get a couple of paws of her own, if you know what I mean!  Anyway, Josie is a down to earth waitress trying to make enough money to put herself through medical school.   Her boyfriend is obnoxious and extremely jealous.  Her best friend is a flirt, and a homeless woman is watching out for the unsuspecting werewolf to be!   

For some reason, Josie doesn’t realize what is happening to her.  Now, it appears to me if when looking, into the bathroom mirror I notice that my eyes are glowing red, I might just catch a clue.   It unfortunately takes a half crazed cop and a brief episode in a bathtub (which I will not go into) for her to understand all those weird feelings she’s been having don’t add up to PMS! 

Now it’s a full moon and the Darkwolf is on the prowl.  He’s hunting for the purebred to mate with, and he’s not letting anyone stand or cower in his way.   Just so you can better understand the difference between these two werewolves, let me break it down for you:  there are two kinds of werewolves, the purebred and the half-breed.  A purebred is a true descendant from the first bloodline of werewolves.  A half-breed is the result of a purebred and a human mating. 

Josie represents the last of the purebreds and this Darkwolf, who is apparently some type of dark prince, has decided to make her top dog in his kennel!  Hopefully he’ll still respect her in the morning, but probably not…after all he is a dawg!

There really weren’t any stand out performances in this movie.   The acting was all mediocre at best.  The one delight for me was watching my number one favorite bad guy actor Kane Hodder as Darkwolf.   Hodder is famous for his mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore machete wielding portrayal of Jason Voorheese in some of the Friday The 13th movies.  He’s always got just the right amount of attitude to give the baddest of bad guys the edge they need. 

I really wanted to like this movie because we have been too long without adequate slash style horror.   With the onset of the Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer era, I was revitalized as a horror flick enthusiast.   Unfortunately, Darkwolf is all gore without anything more. 

The CGI effects used to render both Josie and the Darkwolf during their transformations were video game-esque at best.  I can remember watching An American Werewolf In London and being truly scared as he transformed into the werewolf for the first time.  I almost giggled at the cartoonish nature of the CGI effects for this movie.

As expected, the heroine makes it through this nightmare ride she’s been on since the sun set, and the good looking cop is a little sliced and diced but still in good enough spirits to make a few jokes.  The bad guy is taken care of in true and proper bad guy fashion.  Or is he?   That’s the thing about these types of movies…if the last scene you see is the bad guy laying on a slab in the morgue, there’s going to be a sequel!  So you have until then to grab a copy of this one on DVD.

Video **

Presented in a 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format, this DVD was crisp and clean with very few visible flaws.  Shot predominantly at night, most of the scenes tended to be too dark.   The natural lighting from street lamps and overhead building lights was dull and dingy without much quality to their luminance. 

Also, the CGI effects were less than standard as far as I was concerned considering this is a 2002 production.   The digital transfer of this film only helped to enhance the cartoonish nature of the effects.

Audio **

The audio was presented in a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound format.   The dialogue was very hard to understand as the mix levels kept jumping up and down.   The balance between the spoken dialogue and the soundtrack was off as well. 

The sound effects for the werewolf transformations were very nice however, in contrast to the rest of the disc.   Even the features had problems with dropouts in the audio.  

Features ***

Even though I had some problems with this film’s audio and video quality, the features are definitely something to howl about!

A twenty-minute making of Darkwolf question and answer session with the cast and crew is just a button push away.   Throw in a gag reel showing how much trouble the cast had remembering their lines and the actual feature trailer for Darkwolf and you’ve got yourself some nice features.

Still screen menus with scenes from the movie embedded take you from place to place, and you’ll find some trailers hidden for you on the second features screen.  One for the Johnny Depp flick From Hell heats up the screen, while The Fury and The Omen take you into the depth of the paranormal.   Also, a set of very confusing scenes from Phantom Of The Paradise are included for your viewing pleasure.

You have the option of viewing this movie with Spanish, or French subtitles, as well as choosing the 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound Spanish option if you prefer to hear the movie in another language. 

All in all, a nice set of features that would make any disc owner proud!

Summary:

I don’t want to ruin any movie experience for anyone, so if you have an hour and a half with nothing else to do, pick up this DVD and give it a spin.   It’s a nice way to KILL an afternoon.  Get it…kill an afternoon?  I kill me! :-)