The Howling Reborn (2011)
Written by Joe Nimziki and James Robert Johnston
Directed by Joe Nimziki
(*Mikey turns off the TV*)I have to say, The Howling Reborn is a good example of a low-budget movie making the best of what they have and producing a very entertaining movie.Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Let me start off by saying I am a huge fan of the Joe Dante original and the groundbreaking effects within it by make-up master Rob Bottin.That aside, the rest of the “Howling” franchise is a mixed bag of ups and downs to say the least.The latest edition has been getting a ton of flack and if seen as a companion piece to that original 1981 film, could fairly be torn to shreds for having a severe lack of serious blood and gore.But to do so would be to ignore the hidden beauty within, as The Howling Reborn surprises and hypnotizes with an effective new lycanthrope story lore device – love.
Will Kidman is a high school kid who is on the bottom of the popularity food chain.He’s quiet, keeps to himself, does well in school and lives a normal life with his widowed single father.But his infatuation with sexy and edgy classmate Eliana begins to have a changing effect on the low-key Will and he finds himself going through some less-then-normal changes.And once the seemingly safe Will is finally faced with the fact that he might be in fact heir to a line of powerful and blood-thirsty werewolves, he must make a choice to follow his long suppressed instincts to run amuck or be with the girl he loves.
Sounds a tad hokey, but it’s the very romantic aspects of “The Howling: Reborn” that saves it from being yet another bargain bin “Howling” sequel reject.In fact, the palpable and magnetic chemistry between young leads Landon Liboiron and Lindsey Shaw (and the real and believable love story aspects via writer/director Joe Nimziki!) is the very glue that holds Reborn together.
More especially the turn by arresting actress Shaw, who recalls the fearless and charismatic moxie of Samantha Mathis in “Pump up the Volume” for her go-to high school gal – it’s entrancing work.The side characters range from decent (mystery woman Ivana Milicevic is deliciously devilish!) to clichéd (Will’s best friend Sachin is a Jamie Kennedy “Scream” wannabe if ever there was one!) and the blood and guts effects are short and not so amazing (though everything looks lame after Bottin’s work!), but frankly who cares?Reborn is not so much a horror film, as it is a love story within a werewolf shell and on that level it succeeds in spades.
So for all its seemingly “Twilight” inspired watering down, newfangled use of texting as a flirting device and foregoing of gore for a more romantic upgrade, this latest Howling outing is a film that proves real captivating on-screen love can conquer all.Let’s remember all hardcore “Howling” fright fans – reborn means to start anew.