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Howl (2015) - Blu-ray Review

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Howl (2015) - Blu-ray Review

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4 beersLet’s go ahead and give the British the coveted award for best werewolf movie in quite a long while.  It is much deserved.  Howl, directed by make-up effects wiz Paul Hyett (The Seasoning House), is quite an effective independent feature with a rollicking cast of hairy creatures of the likes we’ve never seen before.    These full-mooned creatures are quite tall, quite hairy, and quite adept on their feet in a dark forest where their glowing yellow eyes flicker unnaturally this way and that.

And the working class is their feast.   When the last train out of London finds itself stranded in the dark confines of the countryside on a dark and stormy night, it is up to a small group of passengers to – led by Downton Abbey’s Ed Speleer – to toughen up, band together, and get back to civilization. 

If only it were that easy.

Skittering about outside beneath the leafy green canvas of trees and super thick branches; however, is a small army of deadly lupine and they are hungry for human flesh.  Co-starring Holly Weston, Shauna Macdonald, and Sean Pertwee, Howl might not explain its creatures but, when you are this terrified, you’ll forget to ask. 

Screenwriters Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler ratchet up the tension – both inside and outside of the train – by providing their characters with a lot of small moments that build into something not soon forgotten.  Some of the charcters are good and some are bad; everyone is frightened.  If being alone on a train surrounded by a thick forest on a moonlit night isn’t enough to set you one edge, the shaggy-looking monster-sized werewolves will.  Seriously.  The re-design of the werewolf gets a clever makeover here. 

And it works.  If the black humor wasn’t enough to win over horror hounds, the werewolves tap-tap-tapping on the exterior of  the train certainly will.  This is a small-sized movie that totally embraces its limitations and delivers a tale that rather brilliantly overcomes all pre-conceived notions about full moon terror.  Much of the movie is generic to the horror genre trope, but rampaging through the script with a good bit of hunger is a spirited B-movie attempt to make the events fun, creepy, and gory.  

Get your paws on this werewolf flick now.  You won’t regret it.

Howl (2015) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
89 mins
Director
: Paul Hyett
Writer:
Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler
Cast:
Ed Speleers, Holly Weston, Shauna Macdonald
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Last train. Full moon. All change.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Starchild Pictures
Official Site: http://www.howlmovie.com/
Release Date:
No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 12, 2015
Synopsis: When passengers on a train are attacked by a creature, they must band together in order to survive until morning.

Howl (2015) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 12, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps)
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Released by Alchemy, the blue/gray color palette – especially on this 1080p transfer – looks solid, if a little saturated.  There are colors from time to time – mostly red – but the details are good.  The werewolves and the effects surrounding them are rock-solid.  Black levels are well defined and lines are solid – even when the passengers attempt to leave the train and dash through the forest.  A rollicking Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack provides the crunch to each and every bite.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Alchemy provides several moments for the cast and crew to discuss the creature designs, their ideas on the designs, and their own characters.  There are featurettes covering the location of the shoot, the color grade, and the overall sound design, including the composing of the score. All in all, a good meaty collection of material concerning the making of this movie.

  • The Werewolves (6 min)
  • The Humans (6 min)
  • The Train (6 min)
  • The Sound (6 min)
  • The Grade (4 min)
  • Trailers (6 min)

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