Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Sunday is truly a great day of the week for me personally because during the fall it’s football season but after the Sunday night game goes off I get to watch my DVR version of the Sci-Fi Channel original feature which allows me to fast forward through those incessant Ghost Hunter commercials they shove down the consumers throat. True enough the Sci-Fi original feature is rarely a good movie but I still love watching them for reasons that I have yet to completely figure out. So yesterday, this date being 11/01/10, after the Saints did in the Steelers on Halloween Night we watched ‘Red: Werewolf Hunter’ which admittedly wasn’t all that good, at least in the classic sense of being a good movie considering it was saddled with some of the typical Sci-Fi Original issues

such as dodgy CGI effects and the like, but it was oddly watchable and gives us hope that the days of ‘Raptor Island’ are permanently far behind us.

As our film opens the Big Bad Wolf has blown the door down and completely eviscerates grandma while a little girl helplessly looks on. I’m not completely sure who this little girl is supposed to be but our films star Felicia Day as the character of Virginia, who is nightmaring to this sequence so I guess we can assume it’s her despite the fact we will meet her living granny in a few minutes. Virginia, a tough as nails FBI agent, is off to the country side to introduce her family of werewolf hunters to her chosen mate and fellow FBI agent Nathan

 (Kavan Smith). Nathan is completely unaware of Virginia’s family secret but he will learn soon enough as he sees some poor man stumble upon the estate and spontaneously combust which just doesn’t happen every day. Virginia was going to tell Nathan anyway, but now she has to hit him with heavy stuff with a quickness, that being that her family are descendents of Red Riding Hood, with the scarlet haired Virginia bearing the nickname of Red, and they hunt werewolves. There’s been a tenuous truce for a while but clearly with the spontaneous combustion of this one werewolf the truce has been broken.

Nathan doesn’t quite believe this nonsense until he wanders out in the woods and makes the acquaintance of the completely off his rocker werewolf Gabriel (Stephen McHattie) who shows the young man first hand that this is indeed the truth, delivering him a bite to the neck for his trouble. Worst still is that this happened despite the absence of the full moon which has this clan of werewolf hunters in quite a tizzy. Werewolves able to transform at will? Not cool. Now Virginia and her hunter brothers Jake (David Reale) and Marcus (Greg Byrk), not to mention her tough talking but really kind of lame granny prepare to mount up to take down this werewolf menace.

Virginia’s personal quandary is trying to find a way to save her man from the curse of the werewolf before he makes his first human kill, in addition to ridding the earth of the werewolf menace once and for all. This is an offshoot of a fairytale and fairytale’s tend to end Happily Ever After don’t they? Don’t they?

The main thing that ‘Red: Werewolf Hunter’ has working in its favor is that it does have some good actors in its cast putting in some solid work. Stephen McHattie is good in pretty much everything he does with this movie being no exception as he makes for an interesting leader of truly the most pathetic and hapless group of werewolves ever committed to film. You would think somebody with the ability to transform into a super human killer would have a little more self-confidence. Felicia Day managed to maintain her femininity but sold us on being completely badass when necessary and Greg Byrk usually ends playing some variation of an asshole, but he has seemingly mastered the variations of the asshole character he is always stuck playing and here it works to good effect. All around the acting was solid which is saying something for a Sci-Fi original feature.

Where the movie comes up short is that it felt a lot more like a Lifetime TV pilot than the bloody horror movie we were hoping to get. Like a Lifetime TV movie the film was broadly and flatly lit when some kind of mood lighting would’ve been the required order of the day and the terribly generic pop / synth musical score didn’t help put us in the frame of mind that we are watching a horror flick. There is the melodrama factor of the werewolf huntress who is in love with the werewolf which is pitch perfect for Lifetime TV however, truth be told, this is actually one of the better played up elements of the film even though this can’t cover up the fact that our CGI werewolves weren’t the most effective of frightening looking creatures around.

For a movie based on a fairy tale, a story element it doesn’t really play up to all that much, this is a movie that probably takes itself a little too seriously and it also plays more like the beginning of potential series as opposed to a stand alone movie… though I’m sure this wasn’t the intent considering a future series would probably need a whole new cast, but it still wasn’t so bad. Decent acting and a semi-original storyline can take you a long way in overcoming bad CGI, terrible music the and concept that four people armed with a silver knife and some wacky crossbows can wipeout a thousand werewolves. I did mention these werewolves were kind of lame didn’t I?

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