When i was very young, probably in the first grade, I came across a book examining the history and folklore surrounding Werewolves. For the life of me I cannot remember the title, but this was my first exposure to the Legends and Superstitions surrounding Werewolves, making them more than just Movie Monsters to me. Here were different superstitions from all around Europe, “Historical” accounts of some rumored to be Werewolves, like Peter Stubbe, a chapter on how to become a Werewolf, even going so far as to describe an elaborate ceremony to conjure evil spirits with whom to beg to be made a Werewolf(Wait, what? Seems a little heavy for a children s book), and also Chapters describing diseases that might explain some of the Werewolf hysteria, such as St. Anthony’s Fire, and Porphyria. Ever since then, I have always believed that even though the Movies may not have gotten it right, that Werewolves really do exist.
WER is a much needed shot of adrenaline to the Werewolf film genre. It’s greatest trick is keeping the wolf element to a minimum and focusing on the madness within men. The film opens as Found Footage, showing an American family camping in the French Countryside, soon they are attacked and brutally slaughtered by a savage creature, leaving only one survivor barely clinging to life. We snap back to traditional film style and learn that due to a bizarre description given by the surviving woman, what was originally considered an animal attack is now being investigated as a Homicide. Through exposition, we learn that a very large and strange looking man who lives in the vicinity of the camp has been arrested under suspicion of the crimes. And here we meet Talan Gwynek.
I won’t spoil what happens next, as you really should check this out for yourself, but what i CAN tell you is that a good portion of the film plays out like a crime drama. We see the defense team for Talan trying to prove he could not have commited these crimes by proving that he suffers from Porphyria, and also examining how this couples with the Lunar Effect. When things finally do get savage, we see a decidedly non-lupine Werewolf on a rampage.
Throughout history there have been numerous accounts of Werewolves and similar creatures from all over the world. These stories are drastically far removed from the Werewolves we have seen in films. It’s nice to see a film finally bridge the gap in a way that makes it easy to suspend disbelief…well, except for that whole “Fall-10-stories-and-be-fine” part…