“A SyFy Original Movie”
Directed by Sheldon Wilson
Starring Felicia Day, Kavan Smith and Stephen McHattie
Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in the woods, but this story isn’t about her. It’s about her ancestors. Virginia ‘Red’ Sullivan (Day) is a federal agent (agency unspecified) and the latest daughter of a family of werewolf hunters. When she brings her fiance Nathan (Smith) to meet her family, the last thing she expects is for it to become their last stand.
Although they arrive between full moons, a wolf is already stalking the woods, tearing through the family’s treaty. Nathan is attacked and the pack hunts humans through the woods, led by their new leader, Gabriel (McHattie). It’s time for the hunters to become the hunted as Red fights for her family, her fiance and her very life.
What’s wrong with it?
It’s a SyFy made for TV movie, so it was made on a shoestring budget.
When Nathan is bitten, the moon is half full and he is told that he won’t turn until the next full moon… Which turns out to be the next day.
The action choreography leaves a little something to be desired, as does the CGI, which combines to mean that most of the fights involve shooting or stabbing offscreen and when both parties are on screen there is often a bit of a coordination glitch. Maybe that’s why the difficulty of hitting a werewolf in the heart varies so wildly, with Red managing a better hit percentage with a giant harpoon gun in the dark than with a pistol in broad daylight.
Felicia Day is… not the most convincing badass in the world, although she kind of has the profile to be a good werewolf. Mind you, that’s kind of par for the course. Even Kavan Smith, the redoubtable Major Lorne from Stargate Atlantis seems to have forgotten how to do action.
McHattie’s Gabriel has this really weird, closed in body language which sits oddly with his role as a firebrand prophet of the beast within.
The central idea of a family descended from Red Riding Hood isn’t a bad one, and you can see why they went for it in the current cinema climate. It’s just a shame it gets so little mention outside of the blurb.
What’s right with it?
It’s kind of fun in a quirky way, and everyone is giving it their all. There are no sly asides or winks at the camera, and in a SyFy original I cannot help but applaud professionalism.
How bad is it really?
It passes an hour and a half with no real harm done, but it’s not one of your timeless classics.
Best bit (if such there is)?
Although not built for badassness, Day owns the heartbreaking denouement like nobody’s business.
What’s up with…?
- The range of weapons? I can’t see how the crossbows and spear guns are practical if bullets from a handgun work, or why they carry so many handguns if they don’t.
- The wolfpires? They need to be hit in the heart with silver and explode in flames when they are.
Production values – It’s a SyFy Original, but it looks a hell of a lot better than, say, Sharknado or Dragon Wasps. 13
Dialogue and performances – The casting is… unusual, but the performances are pretty good. The dialogue is hardly deathless prose, but it’s at worst bland, not dreadful. 11
Plot and execution – The basic plot is okay, with good beats if no real twists. 10
Randomness – Some of the weapon choices are a bit left-field. 8
Waste of potential – This is pretty top-drawer stuff, if the drawer is in the top of the SyFy original filing cabinet. 5