We’re not the hunters. We’re the prey. Review of Never Cry Werewolf (2008)

By Carla Lee

[major spoilers]

Never Cry Werewolf. House Next Door Films/Red Duck Films, Canada. First aired May 11, 2008 on the Sci-Fi Channel.Never Cry Werewolf (2008)

Or, as I like to call it, Nina Dobrev’s practice run for The Vampire Diaries.

Once again The Vampire Diaries is on hiatus. To fill the empty, episode-less weeks, I’ve chosen a selection of media which include older roles by the cast. First up is Never Cry Werewolf, a made-for-television movie starring Nina Dobrev – Elena and Katherine – as Loren Hansett. As soon as I learned that Dobrev had done a werewolf movie I’d never seen before, I knew I had to watch it.

From the IMDB synopsis: “Jared Martin moves next door to the Hansetts, along with his hot motorcycle and eerie, ill-tempered dog. Although everyone else in the neighborhood takes an instant liking to him, Loren Hansett can’t get over the bad vibes her new neighbour gives her. She starts to spy on his nocturnal activities and comes to believe that a recent killing might be the work of a werewolf who happens to be her new neighbour.”

Considering how many things this movie includes that I love – Werewolves! Motorcycles! Nina Dobrev! – I’m still surprised I didn’t watch this movie sooner.

The short version of the review is this: Never Cry Werewolf is an amazing addition to any werewolf movie collection. Nina Dobrev plays sporty, determined, intelligent Loren Hansett as a completely bad-ass and amazing teenager caught up in a supernatural battle she absolutely has to win. Though occasionally, the special effects are cheesy and some of the acting over-the-top, it’s a fun romp about a murderous, motorcycle-riding werewolf and the bad-ass soccer star he thinks he loves. Everyone should watch this movie.

Of particular note for fans of The Vampire Diaries is the fact that the reason Jared is so interested in Loren is because she is the – sing along if you know the words – dead ringer for the long-lost love his life.

This is a little longer than my normal reviews of individual episodes, in part because it is longer than any single episode and because I write the episode reviews with the assumption that a majority of the readers have already watched the episodes, but I doubt many of the readers will have seen this, already. Which you should immediately remedy, because it is fantastic and one of my favourite werewolf movies to date.

The more-detailed review follows. Most of it was written stream-of-conscious while watching the movie and then cleaned up in the second draft, but there are a couple places where I left a Note from the Future, where the Future is during the editing process.

Never Cry Werewolf opens with a lovely, dramatic shot of clouds passing over the full moon and a strange, disturbing fog rolling through town. This is just one of many atmospheric shots of clouds over the moon. I am a big fan of such scenes, especially in werewolf movies, and highly approve.

(I am not, however, convinced that a werewolf should be able to cause fog. In some ways it makes sense for a vampire to do so, either literally, based on the legends were a vampire could turn into fog, or as an illusion, since vampires can so often control human minds.)

The fog — and what’s hiding in it – terrifies a tiny, yapping dog, who barks until he’s let inside and then promptly hides under the bed because he can smell what’s coming. If this were Ginger Snaps, he’d already be dead. I’m already rooting for the little dog to survive the movie. This scene also introduces us to a scrawny young boy who is way too curious for his own good and likely spies on the neighbours with his giant telescope.

(Note from the Future: Hilariously, it is not Kyle who spies on the neighbors.)

Kyle runs into his sister’s room to show her the fog. He wakes her up and she immediately starts complaining about all the dogs going nuts outside, barking and snarling. I love when dogs react badly to werewolves, so this little detail pleases me. Loren has a real attention for detail; even while marveling with her brother over the weird fog, she notices that the house next door has finally sold. Then she kicks her brother out of her room and goes back to bed. No supernatural fog is going to keep her from her rest.

Not even if it is literally stalking the neighborhood. Though I know that we’re actually seeing the world through the eyes of the hidden werewolf, we have yet to see the werewolf and so it seems as if the fog is a sentient creature, searching each house until it finds the one it wants. That, however, would be a movie with a different title.

The werewolf-hiding fog lingers on a sign labeling one of the neighbors as a registered sex offender and gives us some heavy, growly, dramatic breathing. Inside the house, the camera pans up a very stereotypical sex offender – dirty clothes, no pants, passed out from drinking too much – and lingers on the barbed-wire tattoo around his throat. When a noise outside wakes him, we learn that people in the neighborhood are not happy to have him around and throw things at the house, knock over his garbage cans, let their dogs bark at him, etc.

They won’t be able to do that anymore, because we get an actual werewolf scene – very early for a horror movie – with the werewolf in all its wolfy glory. It also has a noose, for some reason. Not that it uses it; instead, it shreds the sex offender, splashing blood everywhere, and tears the barbed-wire tattoo from his throat.

(Note from the Future: I still say that it absolutely isn’t clear that the werewolf hangs the sex offender before tearing into him and, since this is such an important plot point, I think it should be clearer.)

The credits are a musical montage (Note from the Future: the first of way more than I expected) with music that sounds oddly familiar, but I can’t place it and a variety of scenes from what I assume is the future – the werewolf standing outside, a motorcycle, Loren holding a crossbow, and more. I’m already excited about the bad-ass stuff to come.

Loren’s mom gossips with her and Kyle about the new neighbour, about how he showed up with an all-cash down payment and rides a motorcycle. Despite everyone else’s awe with new neighbour Jared, Loren is not impressed by him or his motorcycle or the snarling dog in the back of his truck.

Nor with the strange, whispery voice that calls the name “Melissa” as she stares at his house.

Loren’s best friend, Angie, arrives with her new car and distracts Loren from her weird new neighbour. Her mother is the real estate agent who sold Jared the house and apparently, her mother has been gossiping with her daughter, too, talking about how hot he is. We see him for the first time in human form during this scene and he is not hot. Mostly, he’s creepy, though the soundtrack makes me think we’re supposed to find him attractive.

He does offer Kyle a ride to school on his motorcycle, after Angie took Loren and left him behind, so that, at least, is somewhat nice. (Tempered, of course, by the fact that I’m pretty sure he’s stalking Loren already. Not romantic or attractive.)

As Angie and Loren walk up to the school building, it’s clear that Angie is the sexually-active, flirtatious girl who dresses to show off her body, while Loren is the more conservative, tomboy girl in her baggy clothes. Gee, I wonder if Angie will die at some point in this movie, maybe while fooling around with her partner. You all know my feelings on media killing the sexually-active female characters.

(Note from the Future: Sometimes, I hate being right.)

12Loren continues to find Jared creepy and not-sexy when she sees that he gave Kyle a ride to school. Jared shakes her hand and once she and Angie get away from him, Loren complains about the weirdness of his hairy palms. Immediately, Angie jokes that he’s a werewolf and I am pleased that the teenagers are up-to-date on their werewolf trivia.

Enter Kyle’s friend, Steve, who has a major crush on Loren. Kyle and Steve gossip about the dead sex offender, and we learn that he hung himself, but the cops found him on the floor, and that somehow, an animal got into the house and ate his throat. Because that’s totally a likely explanation.

Jared watches Loren walk away from him and, when she looks back, he grins at her. The soundtrack once again wants us to think this is some sort of good flirtation, I think, but a) he looks quite a bit older than she does, enough so that the teenager and adult age difference is disturbing, and b) werewolf’s got a creepy-as-hell smile.

Thankfully, Loren is not impressed.

Loren is impressive, though, at least when it comes to sports. The camera pans across all the trophies she’s won, her walls are decorated with sports stars, and she frequently falls asleep while watching late-night sports coverage. I like sporty female characters and think the world needs more of them.

In a disturbing twist on the supernatural character stalking and spying on the human character, Loren lurks at her window and watches as Jared and Kyle do home renovations together. Once again, the soundtrack leads me to believe that she’s supposed to look intrigued because he’s being nice to her brother, but mostly, she just looks disturbed.

Little Dog: Still alive, even though Jared’s big dog is now trying to dig under the fence in order to eat the little dog.

However, in a sharp cut to the next scene, Loren goes into Jared’s house to get Kyle for dinner and the big dog is already inside to bark and growl at her. That’s a fast-moving dog, I’ll tell you what. Jared introduces Loren to the dog and tells him she’s welcome in the house. Immediately, the dog stops barking. Loren finds this just as creepy as I do, though probably, she is also not entertained by this awesome werewolf bit of interaction. Again Loren hears the strange whisper of “Melissa”, and Jared goes so far as to tell her that she reminds him of someone.

Another clouds over the moon scene with fog, this time to show us that the moon is halfway to full. Jared’s big dog stares up at Loren’s window, watching her. Stalking isn’t any less creepy when you have your dog do it, Jared. Of course, Loren takes this stalking thing up a notch and steals the telescope from Kyle’s room so she can watch Jared. She finds him in the shower, and he is not nearly hot enough for this to be a fun scene.

(Note from the Future: Unfortunately, this is not the last Jared shower scene we have to endure.)

Loren, stalking is not any better when you do it. This does allow Loren – and the viewers – to see Jared shave his palm in a delightfully-disturbing little scene. He then turns and stares directly at her, letting her know he sees her watching him, before he shuts off the light. His eyes still shine in the darkness. This is creepy and wonderful. Loren is freaked out, but must deal with Kyle coming in to briefly yell at her for taking his telescope.

Apparently in this movie, werewolves have the ability to dress really damn fast, because though Jared was fresh from the shower and naked only a second ago, when Loren looks back out the window, he’s not only dressed but outside on his motorcycle, pulling away from the house. Disturbing speed, that.

Loren wakes up at 2:46 in the morning, her television still on. A brief commercial introduces us to Redd Tucker, played by Kevin Sorbo. Even if I hadn’t read the synopsis, I’d be expecting to see more of Redd just based on the strange focus on this ad for his show.

Loren spies on Jared yet again – this is still not okay, Loren! – and sees him bring a woman into his house. They make out for awhile, with Loren still watching, and the woman is clearly enjoying herself. Obviously, she’s going to be dead shortly. Sure enough, Jared turns off the light and then she screams.

At the same time, Loren realizes Jared’s dog is still standing at the fence, staring up at her window, watching her watch Jared. Well, that’s damned unnerving.

The next day, Loren and her pet soccer ball – she even sleeps with it, sometimes – brood over what she should do. While she’s busy brooding, viewers are introduced to Angie’s mother, who also dresses to show off her figure. Loren’s mother dresses in casual clothes, more like Loren. I’m seeing echoes of Loren and Angie in their mothers, right down to their friendship, and this pleases me. I like female friendship in stories, even if it’s just a subtle nod like this.

Though a very short scene, we learn quite a bit about Jared’s abilities: he’s fast, agile, has good eyesight and strong teeth, and when Angie’s mother lights her cigarette, he jumps away from the tiny flame as if he’d been shot.

Loren is distracted from her brooding and from spying on the neighbor by two news reports, one speculating about the dead sex offender and one about a missing prostitute, the woman she saw Jared take into his home. This is followed by a miniature musical montage of all the weird things she’s seen Jared – and his dog – do, and then Loren heads straight to the computer to research werewolves.

Two thoughts on this. First, though normally, I am skeptical of people so quickly putting things together in movies, especially when what they’re putting together is something we’re taught not to believe, Loren has been so smart and awesome so far that I am just going with it. Second, I love how this is similar to the scene in Cursed where the younger brother does a search on animal attacks in the area and comes up with werewolves.

My growing love for Loren gets even stronger when she is thorough and detailed in her search, and organizes printouts of what she’s found, highlighted papers, notes, and files, and is very methodical in making sure she knows everything she can.

A few werewolf rules of this world, just to get them out of the way: Werewolves have familiars, generally in the form of black dogs. There are two ways to become a werewolf. The first is to be bitten or scratched by a werewolf, which involves only changing the night of the full moon. The second is to use a charm made from skin taken from the neck of a hanged criminal in order to change at will, outside the control of the full moon. Werewolves never age. Werewolves have hypnotic powers over the opposite sex.

(However, Loren, I saw the same thing you saw and that prostitute was not hypnotized by Jared, she was enjoying – or at least pretending to enjoy – making out with him. I think you have a lot to learn about sex.)

Loren is absolutely willing to believe everything she has found. Angie is more skeptical, but with Loren nervous and afraid, Angie uses Loren’s cell phone to give the police an “anonymous” tip. I’m not really sure it’s as anonymous as they think, but at least they called the police instead of trying to handle things themselves. Of course, the police are basically useless and only drive by Jared’s house. To make things worse, Jared catches Angie and Loren watching the police drive past.

Despite the lack of police action, Loren and Angie seem to have a fun night watching sports, eating pizza, and spying on the werewolf neighbour, at least until Angie gets a call from her on-again, off-again boyfriend and decides to go hook up with him. During this, Loren checks on Jared again and sees him cooking something red and gloppy. He catches her watching him yet again and I’m not sure why someone as smart as Loren hasn’t yet figured out that one, Rear Window situations don’t always turn out very well and two, Jared is on to her spying technique.

We do learn that Jared carries a pocket watch on him that has a picture of Katherine Melissa who is a dead ringer for Elena Loren. I want to see a crossover where Loren and Elena complain about the difficulties of being the spitting image of a long-lost love. Loren is still hearing the strange whispers of Melissa’s name, and Angie starts looking a little afraid of Loren and her strange beliefs.

Jared takes off on his bike, and Loren is terrified that he’s going hunting for another victim. Despite this, and the fact that she asks Angie to stay, the call of the boyfriend is too strong for Angie to resist and she takes off, managing to insult Loren and call her hysterical as she leaves. Some best friend. That being said, I’m pretty sure Angie’s about to die while hooking up with her boyfriend, probably while parking in the middle of nowhere, and I am really disturbed by this trend of killing off the sexual female character. I know this used to be a rule of horror movies, but surely by now we should be beyond that.

For all her fear, Loren isn’t too scared to break into Jared’s house. She finds a locked freezer in the basement and an eyeball in the stew Jared was cooking. Jared’s dog spends this entire time snarling and barking at her, and trying to find a way into the house. She never once considers whether there’s a dog door that gives him easy access and so, we get the beginning of incredibly-smart Loren doing pretty dumb things.

Jared arrives back home with another woman while Loren is still in the house. He’s at the front door, his dog is blocking the back door, and trapped between two beasts, Loren must flee to the basement. She takes the time to spray paint something above the kitchen door, which we quickly learn is a warning to the woman Jared brought home: He will kill you. Loren gets out of the basement without much damage, though the big dog does catch her pant leg and almost pull her back inside. The woman reads the note and gets away by spraying Jared with pepper spray, so at least Loren’s risky move saved someone’s life.

Jared is left in pain, frustrated, and infuriated, with a roar of rage that is almost a howl.

Obviously, someone else is going to die tonight. My money is still on Angie and her boyfriend. Before that can happen, though, we get a short but fantastic scene where Jared wraps the skin of the dead sex offender around his hand – which includes a great shot of the barbed-wire tattoo, just in case we hadn’t put two and two together yet (and that skin as some smooth edges for being ripped off his throat by a werewolf) – and then become a werewolf. We don’t get to see the actual transformation, but a nice atmospheric shot of the almost full moon, the dark blue sky, and the silhouette of the wolf against it all.

Loren continues to hear whispers of Melissa’s name. She’s drawn to her bedroom window, where she sees Jared, in human form, staring up at her. Then she’s outside with him, kissing him, drawn to him. An instant later, they’re in her bedroom and his fangs are out, his claws are out, and then she wakes up. Mandatory horror movie cheesy dream sequence, check. Once again, we get a shot of Redd Tucker, the hunter, on the television, until Loren turns it off and pulls the covers up to her chin, obviously shaken by the nightmare and her fears that her neighbour is a werewolf. She’s a wonderful mix of strong and vulnerable, brave and scared, and she’s one of my new favourite horror movie heroes.

Cut to the hunting werewolf and, sure enough, Angie and her boyfriend are parked and making out in the car. A very stereotypical horror movie scene follows, in which Angie even says she thinks she hears something and sends the boyfriend to see what’s going on. As soon as he reassures her that they’re alone, he’s killed by the werewolf. Angie takes off running, but looks back just long enough to be hypnotized and pretty much stands still while the werewolf disembowels her. Good-bye, Angie. Sorry, horror movies almost always kill the sexually-active girl.

The next morning, finds Loren strangely craving meat, even though she’s a vegetarian and even though she hasn’t been bitten by the werewolf. She also pulls an Elena and acts like a bossy older sister, forbidding Kyle from going to Jared’s house. Unfortunately, that fails because the police have shown up and want to ask her about Angie, who has disappeared. (Both are men of colour, which is awesome, though in a horror movie, generally that only means they’ll be the next to die.)

(Note from the Future: They survive. Of course, we don’t actually see them again, either.)

Loren has quite the collection of werewolf movies in her room, which she claims is for a school project. I want to hang out watching werewolf movies and claim it’s for a school project. (Though, really, I’m basically doing exactly that now, just replace “school” with “work” and that’s probably better, anyway.) The police make a note of this, and the fact that she still has the telescope aimed at Jared’s house. When Loren learns that Angie has disappeared, she’s certain Angie is not just missing, but dead.

The police ask about the anonymous tip called in from Loren’s phone. Though Loren hesitates to actually claim that Jared is a werewolf, she does tell them she thinks he’s weird and she saw him with the missing prostitute. The police are skeptical, but agree to go check inside his house.

Oddly, they take Loren with them, which doesn’t seem all that professional (or that safe, but they don’t actually believe he’s a killer). The formerly-locked freezer in the basement is now unlocked and empty. Loren actually confronts Jared and calls him a werewolf. Once again, a very smart woman is doing very stupid things. She’s seen the movies, she’s read the books, she knows no one ever believes the main character’s claims that so-and-so is a werewolf. She even mentions the charm that allows him to shift at will and actually sounds both obsessed with Jared and out of her mind. When the cops leave, one of them gets mad at Loren and takes her stories very personally. This feels like it should mean something, but is left hanging and I’d still like to know his story.

Loren’s gone back to her werewolf research when her mom calls to check in. She’s spending the night with Angie’s mom, and I love the way women’s friendships are so important in this movie. I also love the way it echoes a scene in The Lost Boys, when the mother calls to check in on her sons and the younger brother struggles to tell her about the monsters while the older brother stops him. Here, Kyle is trying to tell his mother that Loren believes in monsters, but the scenes echo each other nicely.

Remember Kyle’s friend, Steve? He works as a delivery driver and his last delivery of the evening is to bring chicken to formerly-vegetarian Loren. They have an exchange when he first arrives that made me snort my drink because I laughed unexpectedly:

Steve: I heard your friend’s missing.

Loren: She’s dead. Keep the change.

Oh, Loren, you are so pragmatic and awesome.

Another miniature montage which cuts scenes of Loren devouring greasy chicken and watching horror movies with scenes of Jared eating his thick, bloody, people soup. I think the movie is trying to oh-so-subtly tell us that Loren is becoming more like Jared, but that’s just a guess.

Steve comes in to try to flirt with Loren by telling her that Kyle told him all about the werewolf next door and that he believes her, because his family knows weirdness, his sister is a witch and his uncle saw Bigfoot. Loren calls him on it and points out that she knows he’s only telling her what he thinks she wants to hear because he has the hots for her. Loren is awesome.

Jared, in his house, can hear exactly what is said in Loren’s house. This is a lovely detail, and really rather disturbing.

The next day, Steve gives Loren a ride to a gun store, where we finally see Redd Tucker, Great White Hunter, in person. He’s signing autographs and flirting with fans and it’s pretty obvious that there’s something a little off about his public persona. Loren ignores the crowds and Steve’s attempts to turn this into a date, and continues to be determined and bad-ass as she looks around for exactly the weapons she wants.

Steve and Loren find genuine sterling silver bullets, which are sold as trinkets (shades of the excuse the uncle gives in Silver Bullet for having a silver bullet made). Though Steve still claims to believe Loren, he also asks her not to talk about werewolves in public. Loren doesn’t care if people think she’s crazy, she just wants to get the job done. Steve shines a light on this when he geeks out over a gun which is just like the one Linda Hamilton used in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor being another one of those bad-ass women who didn’t really care if everyone thought she was crazy as long as she could get the job done. Though I find myself somewhat fond of Steve after this, Loren is still not amused.

Nor is she prepared to buy a gun, because she doesn’t have a gun license. Instead, she picks out a crossbow and her spot on my list of favourite horror movie heroes is guaranteed when she asks where she can buy silver arrows.

This scene is cut throughout with scenes of Jared pretending to be blind and using his dog as a seeing-eye dog. When he sees Steve and Loren, he sends the dog after Steve, but it doesn’t just attack Steve, it attacks anyone in its way. Loren, assuming that Jared is after her, sends Steve to find help and then tries to get to the guns.

Steve is trapped by the dog, only to be saved by Redd with his big bad gun. His big bad useless gun, that is, because the dog is no ordinary dog, but a hound of Hell who gets back up after being shot and shakes off his skin, revealing a demon dog made up of bare muscle. This is unexpected and disgusting. I love it. Most of the hunters in the store flee, except for a few diehard people with guns who shoot the demon dog to no avail, because their plain bullets do nothing.

Loren gets an excellent scene of sheer awesome when she pulls the Terminator gun off the wall, loads it with silver bullets, and kills the demon dog with a slow-motion shot that shows the silver bullets leaving the gun and striking the dog. Which proceeds to spray goo all over Redd and then melt.

Unfortunately for Steve, who has been captured, Jared now needs another pet and transforms into a werewolf so he can bite Steve and turn him into the next hound of Hell. Loren drops her gun to help Steve, but when Jared attacks them again, goes for the crossbow and shoots him. She doesn’t have any silver bolts for it, though, and the only reason they escape is because the building is suddenly and strangely on fire and Jared is, if you remember, terrified of fire. I wait for the fire to spread and the ammunition to blow up.

(Note from the Future: This, sadly, never happens.)

After Loren and Steve take off to miss the police, Redd comes out from his hiding place. The Great White Hunter indeed.

In another shower scene for Jared, we get to see his wounds heal and him listening in on Loren’s conversation with her mom about how her brother is spending the night at a friend’s place and so, she’ll be alone in the house that night.

After she hangs up, Loren helps treat Steve’s wounds. Steve can’t handle the pain of peroxide. Toughen up, Steve. You’ve been bitten by a werewolf; you’ve got a lot more pain ahead of you. They catch a news report (Loren watches the news a lot in this movie, doesn’t she?) where Redd says the store was attacked by a cougar, which he didn’t shoot because his fans got in the way while they were running away. This rightfully pisses off Loren, who snarks that it’s hard to tell a werewolf from a cougar when you’re hiding in terror.

Steve keeps sniffing Loren, a sure sign that he’s about to change, and then discovers his hairy palms, which freaks him out. Loren then breaks the news that he’s going to become a werewolf. I’m not sure why she a) brought him to her home knowing this or b) didn’t tell him sooner, but probably she thinks she can save him. She’s also disgusted to learn that Jared thinks of her as his mate.

We get another musical montage of the full moon rising, the sun setting, and Jared watching the clocks tick down time until he can get his replacement Melissa. This is not only the most boring musical montage of the movie, but quite possibly the most boring one ever.

Meanwhile, Loren continues to do her research, searching for a cure for Steve, and it becomes clear to the audience, if not to the characters, that Steve is starting to share some thoughts with Jared and even though there is supposedly still a number of hours before he should change, he is doing it now.

In an uncharacteristic display of incompetence, Loren panics and cowers in the corner while Steve snarls, grows claws and fangs, and starts to attack her. Then he locks himself in the bathroom in order to protect her from himself. Oh, Loren, don’t lose your bad-ass Never-Cry-Werewolf-Front-Cover-12900now! Finally, we get the usual horror-movie werewolf transformation – back arching while the spine shifts, bones breaking, fur growing, skin stretching – while poor Steve goes through a lot of pain.

Loren tries to get out of the house, but runs into Jared, who seems to have come to kill Steve, despite biting him to turn him into his pet. Jared’s logic eludes me. He unsubtly talks about Steve treading on his territory and getting too close to Loren while he pours beer on the floor. Of course, since he holds the beer bottle level with his dick, the only way this pissing on his territory could get any less subtle would be for him to whip it out and literally piss on her.

This understandably upsets Loren. She lets him know how much she hates being called his mate and that she’s absolutely not his woman, while trying to drive the point home with a baseball bat. He’s too quick for her, disarms her, and backs her into a wall, then proceeds to tell her that Melissa was his wife, a long time ago, and she died when she was just about Loren’s age. He talks a lot about destiny and karma and how he and Loren are meant to be together. Loren is even more unimpressed with this than I am.

Loren finally remembers she’s actually a bad-ass and tells him that, even though he thinks he’s some big, tough guy who no one can hurt, he’s wrong, she’s not afraid of him and she knows how to hurt him. He takes this as foreplay and seductively asks how, obviously not believing she really can.

He’s underestimating Loren big-time here, and she uses her strong soccer legs to knee him in the crotch, which makes him let her go, and then kicking him so hard in the face he goes down for awhile. Athletes for the win!

There’s an interlude here where Loren tracks down Redd Tucker, Great Scared Hunter, and tries to convince him that yes, Jared is a werewolf, and yes, Redd should help her hunt him. This probably should have gone earlier, because it really slows down the action. We get a sob story from Redd about how he has nothing, he lost everything in a divorce and now his show’s been cancelled. If Loren tells the truth and says she was the one that stopped the attack, he’ll lose his one chance to matter again. It comes out that Loren was a big fan of Redd’s show and mentions all these incredible hunts he did on it, but Redd says nothing on television is real and he was just an actor playing a role, he was never a hunter.

Her disillusionment is actually rather heartbreaking here.

Despite this, Loren is determined to stop Jared before he kills someone else and takes off to do just that. We get the best musical montage of the movie where Loren gets out all the real silver she can find in the house – mostly flatware – and ties it to her crossbow bolts. I’m not sure how well this would actually work, but it’s such a fun scene and Loren such an amazing bad-ass that I am suspending my disbelief and going with it. Get down with your bad self, Loren, and go kick some werewolf ass!

Steve is still hanging around Jared’s place, partially transformed and looking nothing at all like a werewolf or a hound of Hell and very much like the hunchback of Notre Dame. Even though Kyle was supposedly already at the friend’s house where he was spending the night, when Jared calls Loren, she immediately knows he’s kidnapped Kyle and is using him as bait to get her to come into his house. Bait or not, she’s going to save her baby brother. I love sibling relationships like this.

By the way, Little Dog: Still alive.

For the first time, Loren isn’t dressed in casual baggy clothes. Instead, she’s wearing tight jeans with a silver chain hanging from the belt, awesome boots, and a leather jacket. I approve of this outfit. (Shades of Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, too, when she’s carrying the crossbow.) Go kill the werewolf and keep his motorcycle. This look becomes you!

Redd shows up as she heads to Jared’s house, and though she’s still mad at him for being a fake, he convinces her to let him come with her, using her own words against her, because his conscience won’t let him give up and let Jared keep killing people either. In a really nice exchange, he keeps referring to Jared as the beast they’re hunting and Loren has had enough of that. She says that Jared isn’t a beast and he isn’t a man: he’s a monster, a monster that is faster and stronger and probably a hell of a lot smarter than the two of them put together. Oh, Loren, you know all these things and you’re still determined to kill him. No wonder you’re my favourite.

Despite the fact that he’s been exposed as a fake, Redd is strangely eager to do this hunt and very proud of his silver gun, which a fan gave him at a convention. Loren is far less impressed because the bullets aren’t silver and therefore, the gun is useless. I’m guessing that it won’t be all that useless by the end of the movie, because otherwise, what’s the point?

Though I do love their conversation, they sure are wasting a lot of time standing around in front of the werewolf’s house and talking. I mean, it’s not like he can hear them coming or anything, right?

In a nicely-creepy moment that speaks to just how much Jared has turned the house into his lair, the porch creaks when they walk across it and Loren is confused, because he fixed the porch. Redd explains that he did fix it into exactly what he wanted, a warning signal that allows Jared to hear every step they take toward his lair. Considering how far away Jared can hear conversations, I am not convinced he needs this, but it is pretty awesome.

Loren heads straight to the basement, but Kyle’s not locked in the freezer anymore. When Redd finds out that Jared considers Loren his mate – because they’ve both heard the strange “Melissa” whisper echoing in the basement – he freaks out because, as so often gets stated in werewolf movies – in nature, there is nothing stronger than the bond between a wolf and its mate. Redd tries to convince Loren to flee because they’re in Jared’s territory and they aren’t the hunters, they’re the prey, but Loren is determined to save her brother and leads the way upstairs.

They do find Kyle upstairs, but of course it’s a trap and Jared separates Loren and Redd, locking Redd outside the room where Kyle and Loren are. Loren tries to shoot him with the crossbow, but misses and we get this fantastic mini-scene:

Jared: Well, if it isn’t Little Miss Riding Hood. Or is it supposed to be Robin Hood? […] Do you really think you’re going to kick the big bad wolf’s ass?

Loren: Go to Hell. *shoots a crossbow bolt straight at Jared’s throat*

Unfortunately, Jared catches it and goes on to disarm her. Then, while Kyle gripes about Loren walking straight into the trap – while trying to save him because he wouldn’t listen to her, but he seems to have forgotten that – Jared actually backhands Loren across the face. I didn’t expect that. Instead of killing Kyle, Jared locks him out of the room and creepily tries to seduce Loren. This is really disturbing and would be kind of hot if Jared were more attractive.

Meanwhile, Redd goes outside to try to find another way into the room and runs into partially-transformed Kyle. He ends up climbing a tree and playing fetch with him for a moment, and then shooting at him but missing. He really does suck as a hunter.

Back inside the room of abusive seduction, Jared is still watching the clock tick down. He makes Loren take off her leather jacket and, for some unknown reason, she’s wearing a sports bra under it instead of a shirt. Though she is an athlete, I have no idea why she went werewolf-hunting without a shirt.

Loren and Jared have a nice exchange about Loren not wanting to turn into a monster while Jared assures her she won’t be a monster; she’ll just be stronger and faster and flat out better than humans.

The exact quote is, “No, you’ll be better, stronger, faster. You’ll live for an eternity and you’ll never age.” Will she also sleep all day and party all night? (The Lost Boys reference.)

(Throughout the movie, the quieter background music reminds me a lot of something else, maybe the score to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season two, so much that it is driving me mad because I can’t quite place it. It is particularly noticeable in this scene.)

Jared dramatically peels off his shirt and crouches to the floor for his transformation, giving us another traditional werewolf transformation-in-his-bones, his face stretching, his fangs dropping. I am disappointed that the camera is continually angled to show Loren’s breasts and the way she’s squirming in fear in her chair. For the first time, there seems to be a real sexual male gaze going on in the movie, and until now, it was doing so well without it.

Jared scratches Loren, a tiny little mark, but it’s enough to make a perfect tear slip down Loren’s cheek. Damn it, she is not a helpless damsel in distress, she is a bad-ass fighter. Don’t do this to her, movie. Of course, when she screams in fear, three guys – Redd, Steve and Kyle – all rush to save her. Do not go so wrong after being so right, movie.

Kyle gets knocked away easily and slammed into a wall. Loren uses that brief distraction to try to grab the crossbow, but Jared is too fast and stops her. Steve attacks him, but is no match for Jared and gets thrown out the window. Redd makes a torch and throws it to Loren, who uses it to keep Jared away from them because she knows his fear of it, but in a nice I’ll-huff-and-I’ll-puff moment (shades of The Three Little Pigs), Jared blows it out. Though, considering he leapt away from a tiny lighter in fear, I’m not sure he’d actually get close enough to blow out the big torch.

Redd shoots him through the window and, for once, manages to hit his target. Except then Jared disappears from the house and then reappears in the tree with Redd, looking far more like a bear than a wolf, which is funny because Redd just talked about the episode of his show where he shot a bear. Redd drops his gun, which breaks apart on impact, and then falls out of the tree and into the werewolf attack.

Loren collects the crossbow and her brother and runs outside to try to save him. As impractical as the sports bra is, she looks like a complete bad-ass running around in it, with the quiver over one shoulder and the crossbow in her hands.

She takes the time to send Kyle away so he’ll be safe, because she’s always more worried about his safety than her own, something I love about her. When he argues and points out that she’s been wounded, her transformation begins and she snarls at him, losing control of herself for a moment. I love that scene in movies, when the hero starts to become just like the monsters she hunts.

Redd is cowering on the ground, still alive, when Loren approaches him. The werewolf ends up holding Redd hostage, but only Loren can hear his thoughts. He twists her fears, plays with her mind, and tells him she can’t beat him because of what he did to her. And fast as thought, she shoots him with a silver-tipped bolt, then reloads and gets ready to do it again. He’s still messing with her head, telling her her soul is his and she’ll never stop him, but she does manage to shoot him again.

From nowhere, Steve drives up in his delivery van and slams Jared into a tree. While Loren and Kyle hug, Redd goes to confirm the kill and, of course, Jared is faking it and isn’t dead yet, though he’s transforming back from werewolf to human form. He grabs Redd and threatens to suck out his soul. Did you forget you were a werewolf, Jared?

Loren grabs for another crossbow bolt, but her quiver is empty. She finds a piece of Redd’s silver gun and even though Jared manages to scratch Redd and infect him, too, Loren puts the piece of silver gun into the crossbow and aims it at him.

Jared: Melissa…

Loren: Melissa’s dead. Go join her.

Then she shoots the piece of gun down his throat, just as the clock strikes midnight, and though this is completely unbelievable, it is incredibly awesome, too, and once again I am just going with it because Loren is so bad-ass.

Much like the vampires in The Lost Boys, Jared explodes and all three infected people turn back to normal, beneath the light of the full moon. Unlike the others, Steve doesn’t remember what’s happened, just that his clothes are torn and Loren’s are covered in goo. Apparently, being a babbling idiot is a turn-on for Loren, who grabs him and kisses him senseless. Never Cry Werewolf‘s romance is shoehorned in, that’s for sure.

Still, despite the bit where Loren freaks out and screams instead of fighting back, this is one of the most awesome werewolf movies ever. Probably the special effects budget could have been bigger, but they didn’t do a bad job with what they had; I’ve definitely seen worse effects in werewolf movies. Loren is so completely awesome she carries the entire movie and I have happily bumped it toward the top of my favourite movies.

As far as I know, Little Dog: Still alive.

You can find Never Cry Werewolf on Amazon.com.

IFP

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IFPWe’re not the hunters. We’re the prey. Review of Never Cry Werewolf (2008)