You can’t call “Howl” (2015) a great movie — not all of its acting, screenwriting and directing supports that statement. But this indie British horror flick’s better qualities make it a pretty good one — enough to warrant an 8 out of 10.
There were three things about this film that made me like it.
- It’s a straightforward werewolf tale. Monsters attack average commuters on a red-eye train after it breaks down under a full moon in an English forest. There is no Byzantine backstory, no sexing it up and no humanizing of the werewolves. (They’re gross.) I found that refreshing in an age of franchises like “Underworld” and “Twilight.”
- Our protagonists are average people who are relatable. Who among us hasn’t been stuck on a stalled train at least once, even briefly? These unarmed, everyday commuters would probably be easy prey for a human predator, not to mention a super-strong supernatural threat. That made it scary.
- I thought that the special effects (a mixture of practical effects and CGI) were actually quite good. I was pleasantly surprised when this low-budget, direct-to-video film bared its fangs as a decent creature feature.
And did anyone else recognize the train conductor? That’s none other than Sean Pertwee, who starred in the werewolf classic, “Dog Soldiers” (2002). It’s fun imagining “Howl” as a companion film.