Scream Horror Magazine

HOWL: Film Review

Posted on: September 6th, 2015

A train breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and the passengers must try and survive until morning while being stalked by a werewolf.

I like a good werewolf story as much as the next horror fan, so it’s always nice to see another one rock up, especially one as fun as this.

Something always particularly special about them is the first act, where we follow the characters with one of them being attacked and ultimately turning. This was true with Howl, at least for the first ten minutes, but it soon turned out to be a very different (ahem) beast.

Joe, a young ticket collector, frustrated by his dead end job, is working on a late night train, when there is an accident and the train is halted in the middle of a dark and creepy forest. Now, at this point, the first cheeky thing happens… all I’m saying is that billing or apparat importance to the plot is no barrier to coming a cropper…

What unfolds for the rest of the movie is a hauntingly tense film setting with people trapped in a house, although this one takes place on a train, and director Paul Hyett makes very good use of his single set and limited location shooting. The cast is one we have come to expect from this kind of movie: the feisty older folks, the gross comic relief, the strong willed business woman, the oily businessman.

As with the opening scenes, these archetypal characters help to lull the viewer into the rhythm of the movie, with their comfortable familiarity, but the filmmakers have some nice tricks up their sleeves (tricks I will naturally not reveal here) that keep this feeling fresh and fun. And this runs right up until the end. There are usually morality rules of who dies and who does not in a horror movie, for example.

Of course, the big thing about a werewolf movie is the design of the creature itself. Hyett does a good job at keeping it in the shadows, of offering us glimpses or sounds. But when it does appear it is at the prefect, unexpected moment.

And the look of the beast? It is genuinely a WTF? moment – it’s not something I was expecting, and I’ll be honest and say that it jarred at first, but quickly made sense.

Not without the odd flaw however, Howl is at times uneven. The opening goes on a bit too long and there is one big screaming plot hole that I couldn’t quite get past, and that was how nobody at the other end of the track noticed the train hadn’t arrived… That aside, this is a bold, fun and bloodily fun movie.

Words Richmond Clements (@richclements)

About Scream Horror Magazine
The world’s scariest publication, SCREAM – Blood, guts, gore & more! We are THE WORLD’S NUMBER ONE PRINT HORROR MAGAZINE. We cover films, celebrity interviews, DVDs/Blu-rays, festivals, books, games, comics, graphic novels, fiction/non-Fiction, photography, clothing/fashion, news, reviews, previews, competitions, on-location film reports & much, much more!
Contact Scream Magazine
For advertising, sales, ordering, editorial, or other miscellaneous questions, you can reach us via email here
Follow Scream Magazine
Follow Scream Magazine on Twitter Join Scream Magazine on Facebook Scream Magazine on Instagram
©2018 SCREAM MAGAZINE | Privacy Policy