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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Half Moon
Half Moon
Other // Unrated // March 1, 2011
List Price: $21.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeremy Biltz | posted March 25, 2011 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
The title of the movie Half Moon is either a reference to the main character who happens to be a werewolf, or to the extremely short skirt worn by the prostitute female lead. Either way, the film ends up being neither a fun filled, slash happy lycanthropic romp, nor a tightly wound, confined drama. And there's not much left to enjoy.

Rose, the above mentioned prostitute played by Tori Black, is a beautiful young woman (Perhaps too beautiful to be a street walking hooker. She has a very fine set of teeth, for instance, which don't seem to be common among the average sex worker.), unhappy with her lot, and with her pimp Kevin (Torey D. Sutton), but sees no practical way out and thus continues on in his employ. While walking the street in search of paying customer, she talks up her friend and fellow lady of the evening Tammy (Nicki Hunter). Tammy raves and raves about this wonderful client she has, named Jacob (Marek Matousek), who calls her up once a month and pays her a few grand each time, often just wanting to talk. A few moments later, Tammy hands her phone to Rose and heads to an alley to relieve herself. Wouldn't you know it, Tammy gets snatched up by the police, presumably for public urination, and Rose takes the call from the mysteriously generous client herself.

She shows up at Jacob's hotel room and tells him that Tammy can't make it, but she'd be happy to take her place. Reluctant at first, Jacob invites her in and they settle in for a takeout dinner of rare steak and salad. After this point, nothing much happens for a good forty minutes or so. The two talk and talk, about their childhoods, about Pete Rose (obscure facts about whom figure significantly in the plot), about cartoons and much else. Hints are dropped along the way that there's something not quite right about Jacob. He has strange fits and a murky past, but he's nice enough, and attractive in that unshaven, European sort of way. And the ridiculously huge fee that he pays Rose, along with the additional wads of cash he stows in the room safe, are quite enticing on their own. After many more minutes of blather, Rose gives Jacob a sensual lap dance, which he finds quite unappealing, and they soon end up in carnal embrace, writhing about on the bed, unclad except for the comforter that always manages to obscure Rose's naughtiest bits. But then Rose makes an unpleasant discovery in the bathroom, and events take a turn for the worse.

No more will be said plot-wise, so as not to spoil things for those with the endurance to watch the entire film. It will be a tough job, though, as Half Moon is quite thoroughly dull. One supposes that director Jason Toler was going for the slow burn, incrementally ratcheting up the tension until the explosive climax. But that only works with far superior acting, dialogue and plot than we are treated to here. Indeed, it has worked in the past, as with Bob Clark's Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, in which nothing much happens for the entire first three quarters of the film. But the mood was set, and the sense of creepiness and dread and atmosphere of impending doom and death increased until they became nearly unbearable. (To be fair, though, there are many who do not share this reviewer's impression of Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, and who firmly despise it.) In Half Moon, by contrast, the mood is never set, and while Jacob is sort of weird, he's by no means menacing. Kevin the pimp is a far scarier figure, but not in the way appropriate to a horror film. The performances are moderately competent, but not very engaging. Tori Black can't quite decide on her accent, which flits all around, though she is supposed to be from the "eastern seaboard". She and Matousek lack chemistry, which is deadly here as 80% or more of the film is those two conversing. Matousek himself, and Sutton, seem decent actors, but, like the merely adequate dialogue, are nowhere near the quality necessary to make the very talky format of the film work. The viewer simply never cares about these people enough to be drawn into the story, and there are vanishingly few werewolf kills or action to make up the difference. The scattered female breasts are nice enough, but do not an entertaining movie make.

The few effects are okay, except for the werewolf transformation, which looks to be entirely CG and is laughably bad. The werewolf suit (for so it appears) is pretty good, but is only seen on screen for a minute or so. In short, the film lacks tension, action, humor or scares. It has lots of talking, but not very interesting talking. Skip this one.

The DVD

Video:
The image is presented in 1.33:1 standard, and has some issues, mainly some graininess and occasional aliasing. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.

Sound:
The audio is in Dolby digital 2 channel, and seems adequate. Dialogue is always audible, though there are a few moments when background hiss can be distinctly heard. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are included. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.

Extras:
No extras are included. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality or quantity of extras on the final product.

Final Thoughts:
While the premise is mildly intriguing, the execution of Half Moon is not up to the task. The extremely talky script can't deliver the quality writing or performances that would be necessary to draw in the viewer, and almost entirely eschews the action and gore that might provide some entertainment despite this. Skip this one.

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