Director – William Brent Bell
Cast – A.J. Cook, Simon Quarterman, Sebastian Roché, Vik Sahay, Brian Scott O’Connor, Camelia Maxim
Release Year – 2014
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I really like werewolf films because they provide polar opposites of the infected character, and most importantly, a transformation from man/woman to beast. Wer excited me because it involves a legal drama alongside the werewolf conflict, so I expected to be very intrigued by the story. While it did not include some the qualities I was hoping for I did enjoy Wer and the horror it provided.
Defense attorney Kate Moore takes on the case of Talan Gwynek – a large and quiet man charged with the brutal deaths of a family on vacation. As Kate tries desperately to prove his innocence, she and her team uncover a horrifying secret that proves his guilt instead.
Written by the same two writers behind the less than favorable films Stay Alive and The Devil Inside, I was impressed with their improved writing in this effort. The story begins much like a legal drama, with Kate, her investigator Eric, and her medical professional Gavin trying their best to attain information and understand what exactly happened the night of the murders. Law enforcement officials believe they have an open and shut case with the hideous Talan as their suspect, and funny as it be…they are right. After about 50 minutes of good development we finally see our first true solid horror, and from then on out the werewolf action takes over. Before this the most horror we received was a look at the mutilated victims at the morgue. Only 8 minutes later we receive the moment every werewolf fan anticipates: the transformation. Talan’s does not consist of a full transformation to a wolf though, as he keeps a lot of his human figure. While I do not prefer this I won’t balk at it. I see it as a matter of one’s own opinion and nothing more. The horror written into the film takes full control and provides more deaths than I could keep count of. If I had to guess I would say there are several dozen, so you know the story won’t be lacking in excitement.
Co-writer William Brent Bell directs the film, and I am glad to say that he has improved on the direction seen in Stay Alive and The Devil Inside. From the get-go I was hooked on the story and I credit his execution for that. The first half of the film is all development and Bell makes it as interesting as possible by executing it as more of a legal drama than a horror film. This changes when the horror kicks in, giving us the best of both the worlds the story offers. He achieves fair performances from his actors as well, but none of them stole the show. I definitely wanted better execution of Brian Scott O’Connor, who portrayed Talan / the werewolf, but he was just OK and not as menacing as he could have been. Aside from that the horror is pretty good thanks to lots of kills and plenty of blood. If you are looking for more than that, like real tension, you won’t find it here. The horror is brainless and you get to love it or hate it. I loved the number of kills and the brutality of them, but I hated seeing so much CGI gore. The werewolf transformation was also CGI. CGI has its place in modern horror, but it should be as far away from werewolf films as possible.
Overall, Wer gets a lot of things right and only suffers a few faults that make it less than stellar but still a worthy watch.