Werewolf: The Devil's Hound has, based on the cover art and the trailer, been marketed in a severely misguiding manner. Originally titled Lycan, this offering from the writing/directing team of Gregory C. Parker and Christian Pindar of Synthetic Cinema International looks, on the outside, to be a straight up horror picture. There werewolf howling on the front cover, the images of a pair of people with glowing yellow eyes roaming the mist on the back, and even the title itself - they all point to a spookshow. Imagine this reviewer's surprise, then, when the film turned out to be a comedy, and a pretty crappy one at that.
A young man named Kevin is a pyrotechnics guy at his father's special effects house. A crate of what are supposed to be fireworks shows up one day and instead of the intended cargo, it turns out that there's a female werewolf inside. Kevin gets bitten, and the next day he starts to notice that things are a little... different. Thankfully for Kevin, the werewolf who bit him is, during the day, a hot red headed goth chick. She shows up and makes it pretty clear to Kevin that she wants him to be her man, to help her start a new family of werewolves. Kevin goes to a crappy bar and freaks out, transforming into a werewolf and then later some European werewolf hunters show up to stop Kevin and the hot redhead from doing whatever it is they're trying to do.
While the plot may sound like reasonably decent if generic horror fare, the reality is that there are so many bad jokes and intentionally horrible performances in this picture that the few scattered gore scenes and piss-poor special effects work just flat out cannot save it or redeem it in any way, shape or form. The plot takes about an hour to really get going, and we're left to suffer through bad joke after bad joke until it finally gets moving. Even then, once we're off and running, it's simply too hard to care about Kevin or his plight. If that weren't enough, the film commits the ultimate sin... it's boring.
Nothing in the film works. Not the acting, not the effects (the female werewolf effects in particular are quite horrible), not the gore scenes, not the characters and especially not the dialogue. The filmmaker's were obviously going for intentional camp, throwing in everything including the kitchen sink, but rather than resulting in a funny, quirky, eclectic horror film they've instead wound up with a juvenile and completely uninteresting movie that simply wreaks of amateur filmmaking at its worst.
Werewolf: The Devil's Hound arrives on DVD in an anamorphic 1.85.1 widescreen presentation that does a reasonably good job with less than perfect source material. The movie was shot on digital video and there are some very obvious compression artifacts present in many of the darker scenes in addition to some softness throughout. That said, color reproduction isn't bad and while there is some edge enhancement and some shimmering, it isn't a huge problem and it's only distracting in a couple of scenes. While this is hardly reference quality, there are certainly worse looking low budget indy horror movies out there in DVD land.
The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound is fine even if most of the time the mix sounds closer to stereo than to true surround. Dialogue is clean and clear and there are no problems with hiss or distortion. The metal/industrial soundtrack kicks in with a noticeable bit of punch but the attack scenes don't sound as intense or as active as they could have. There's nothing wrong with this mix - it just doesn't take full advantage of the 5.1 set up.
Lionsgate provides a commentary track with the two co-writers/co-directors responsible for the film, Gregory C. Parker and Christian Pindar. It does nothing to redeem the film nor does it prove to be particularly interesting though there are some bits and pieces in here that detail the making of the picture and that, in the filmmakers defense, show that their hearts seem to have been in the right place.
From there, we're treated to an eleven minute featurette entitled Composing A Monster in which a musician named Christian Devein talks about how he chose bands he was into and his own band, Die Symphony, to appear on the soundtrack for the movie. If you dug the music in the movie, this might be of interest to you but honestly, it feels more like a promotional blurb for Devein's band than an actual documentary.
Rounding out the supplements are a music video for the song Spit You Out that appears in the film, a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Lionsgate DVDs, animated menus and chapter stops.
If Werewolf: The Devil's Hound had been able to make up its mind as to where it wanted to go, it could have been a contender but as it stands it's a completely disjointed and uneven picture that doesn't do particularly well with either the horror or the comedy. Lionsgate does okay on the presentation but doesn't manage to add enough value to make it worthwhile. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.