HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Wer: The Legend Reborn
HTS Overall Score:68
Now that we’re coming up fast on Halloween it’s time to get out the horror movies and start watching at 2:00 A.M. (which is always the best time for a good scare). This year hasn’t netted us as many good horror films as previous years, but I’m always a sucker for a werewolf or vampire movie. I grew up watching horror movies where the werewolves and vampires weren’t dating material, or action heroes, but seriously terrifying beasts and monsters that haunted your dreams and caused your parents to rue the day they agreed to let you watch “Silver Bullet” or “The Howling” with your older brothers. “Wer” tries to take a page from those older style takes on the classic beasts, and actually gives it a unique flair, blending a murder mystery in with the gore and carnage with surprisingly decent results.
A lone survivor of an attack that left a woman mauled, her husband torn apart and her son partially eaten alive peaks the interest of an American civil defender living in France. A lone suspect by the name of Talan (Brian Scott O’Connor) is in custody and it seems that the stakes are against him. As this defender, Kate (A.J. Cook), looks into the matter it doesn’t seem possible that Talan could have done the deed. He is a very mild mannered giant of a man, and he seems to suffer from a disease that leaves him with very little strength or mobility. It seems that he has suffered from a genetic disease that left him with elongated bones that are too weak to support his giant frame, rendering him almost incapable of doing something as horrific as the murders he has been accused of.
With the help of Kate’s ex from the states, Gavin (Simon Quarterman), and her personal assistant, Erik (Vik Sahay…best known from “Chuck”), the she tries to unravel the case levied against Talan by the overbearing police commissioner (Sebastian Roche). After testing Talan for this genetic disease, all hell breaks loose as the testing unleashes an inner monster that has been hiding under the surface, turning Talan into a super human that can tear through humans like paper Mache, escaping into the wilderness. Pulling all the stops out, the Police Commissioner and Kate, with a score of French S.W.A.T. go out and try to capture or kill Talan before he can hurt anyone else. Unbeknownst to the rest of them, Gavin was previously nicked by beast and seems to be exhibiting some strange symptoms, all of which will come to head in an epic battle of the beasts.
“Wer” is one of those movies that I thought was going to be pure utter TRASH, especially with the slew of low budget horror movies that saturate the market very month. Strangely enough, “Wer” has some raw potential, but is bogged down with some bad acting and poor writing decisions. I really liked that it tried a different twist, especially by adding in the mystery portion of it. We all know that Talan is a werewolf from day one. He’s telegraphed a mile away by being so mild mannered, but a hulk of a man, and the constant references to his rage “genetic disease” is a dead giveaway for the werewolf virus. Same thing goes for the telegraphing of Gavin becoming one as we all know what happens when someone starts feeling weird after being scratched in a werewolf movie. However, the mystery serves more to setup the main characters and give them something to chew through before they are confronted with something that they normally wouldn’t believe in. Talan becomes completely innocent in Kate’s eyes, so much so that when he goes berserk in the lab it comes as an incredible shock to her system, and when Gavin turns we finally have someone who can take care of Talan once and for all.
The gore level isn’t ridiculously high, mostly because I think the limited budget kept that part of them pretty restrained. What was shown is rather effective and decently done on screen, adding some serious impact to the Talan scenes in the second half. The werewolves depicted on screen aren’t the same old fashioned dog like creatures that we’re used to, but rather men who carry some of the distinct animalistic characteristics, like excessive hair growth and the bones shifting around to give the bearer more mass and strength. Still, they retain their human shape, but look more like an animal than one would expect. I really wanted to like “Wer” more than I did by the end of the film. It was a rather unique twist on a classic tale and you could see that this was a passion project by the director. Still, except for Sebastian Roche, the rest of the cast was very young, very low budget actors that really pulled some of the believability from the more dramatic elements and the writing showed the wear and tear of cheap writing. Still, it has its charms and is definitely worth checking out if you love a dark take on the old beasties.
Rated R for strong horror violence, gruesome images and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=27529[/img]The 1.78:1 encoding for “Wer” is a, usually, pleasing image on DVD. For a DVD it sustains a surprising amount of pop and clarity with the amateur camera work. The blacks are deep and inky (probably the best part of the encode) and the colors look very natural. However, even though there were moments of razor sharp clarity, the image had a bit of a soft feel to it, lacking some of the really fine detail that is apparent on other DVD’s shot with the same filming style. The handheld, almost found footage, style of camerawork tends to be filled with many quick cuts and that actually helps here, pulling the focus off the soft facial images and keeping the eye moving so it doesn’t stop and make it easier to see said flaw. Still, it’s a rather pleasing image that, while not perfect, is very good for a dark horror movie. The reds blood contrasts nicely with the bleak images of the French countryside and there was no signs of macroblockng or any other digital issues.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=27537[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also rather decent, but unfortunately not going to be a horror powerhouse. One of the greatest parts of a horror movie is a great horror soundtrack, which “Wer” is sadly lacking. There’s some decent score work, but most of the movie is rather front loaded and lacking in the surround department. When the surrounds are used, it’s very sparsely and only to add some backup to the werewolf scenes in the latter half of the movie and to punctuate the dialogue with a little bit of the score. LFE is mild, but it does add some weight to the fight scenes, especially after Talan has broken out and starting to wreak havoc as he’s chased by the French police.
Nada, zip, nothing
I almost felt sad for “Wer” because it deserved better. I expected a truly trashy horror movie, especially with the tag line on the front (from the Director of “The Devil Inside”) as we all know what a wonderful work of art that one was, but was pleasantly surprised to find a half way decent werewolf movie under the weight of poor acting, a shoestring budget and some amateur looking cinematography. It’s not a gripping movie, or even a good horror flick, but the raw potential was there, especially considering how he decided to take the werewolf genre in this outing. I’d say it’s worth a rental if you’re a fan of werewolves that are actually terrifying, ala “Dog Soldiers”, vs something stylized and action like “Underworld”.
Starring: A.J. Cook, Sebastian Roche, Vik Sahay
Directed By: William Brent Bell
Written By: William Brent Bell, Matthew Peterman
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 93 minutes
DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2014
Buy Wer DVD on Amazon
More about Mike