There must be something in the air (or in the distributor’s pockets) right about now. Werewolves have made a comeback. With “Wolf Cop”, “Late Phases”, and now “Blood Moon”, audiences are treated to fun special effects and outlandish storylines that entertain and show that indeed werewolves are back, and with decent production values as well! “Blood Moon” centers around a group of travelers that head into a small western town, only to get hunted by skinwalkers by the light of the blood moon (insert Peter Griffin moment here). This film that focuses on the Wild West in 1887 was shot in the UK surprisingly enough, and is said to have been the first Western film to shoot in the UK since “Carry On Cowboy” in 1965.
It has several of the Western stereotypes- the rugged robbers, the scruffy stranger, the sassy saloon owner and the indignant Indian. A good handful of the cast are British based that pull off American accents decently well- with a little bit of that stereotypical “western” twang to it. The production value shines in the costumes and production design in the first half of the movie, showcasing a great variant in financial means for the characters. The weapons are decent to look at, matching the production design, however, the way the cast handles them adds a sliver of humor- they spin the revolvers just about EVERY time they fire them. It is a little ridiculous, and reminds me more of a western stage show I would see at a theme park.
The storyline takes quite a bit to get started after a rip roaring start. Aside from a shadowy figure, the first werewolf isn’t seen until after forty five minutes into the film, in which all that has happened is character development and exposition, and the discovery of the first werewolf victim. Unlike the Americanized version of the werewolf legend, the writer, Alan Wightman, chose to utilize the Navajo Nation idea of the skinwalker mythos. The main difference of the Navajo Nation and the Americanized/ European versions are that the skinwalker curse is desired by some who are willing to go to any length to obtain it, rather than by being bit by one and inheriting the curse.
Technically speaking, this film is quite beautiful. Shot well with intriguing trick shots as well as steady and stable ones, the cinematography adds an extra layer of eeriness to the film. The music is fitting for the majority of the film, with moments where it stops suddenly and seems like a slight error. The filmmakers definitely knew and understood not to take this film with the most serious of approaches, which makes the film relatable for such a unique take on the werewolf sub-genre of horror. While I do wish that the special effects had been utilized more (the werewolf is beautiful , but not shown to the extremity that it could have been). While this film is a fun watch, it isn’t groundbreaking by any means. My favorite part of the film had to have been the character of Hank Norton, one of the rough outlaws, played by American actor Corey Johnson. His gruff demeanor and spunky comebacks kept me watching to see what he would say next, or what would happen if he faced off with the skinwalker. With a talented cast, it is no wonder that this film won a handful of awards at various festivals around the world.
Would I watch this film again? Yes, and I would probably turn it into a drinking game- for every cheesy western word like “vittles” or “varmint”- drink!
“Blood Moon” is now available on DVD. For more information, check out the official webpage: http://www.bloodmoonthemovie.com