Reviews: Crying Wolf 3D

 Andrew gets an early look at the British werewolf schlock fest, Crying Wolf 3D.

Gimme a kiss!
It's finally happened, a 3D horror flick with worse CGI, acting and directing than Argento's Dracula 3D!  British director and unabashed purveyor of schlock Tony Jopia (Deadtime, Cute Little Buggers) comes out with another tongue-in-cheek self-aware horror-comedy mishmash of British cockney, embarrassing practical prosthesis, technical ineptitude and some of the worst CGI this side of a Playstation 1 video game: a feature length update of the director's 2011 short film Crying Wolf.  While I did not manage to see the 3D version of the film, I can't imagine it improving the dreck at hand.  It's like a rough cut with temporary visual effects in place that hastily got released as is anyway, finished or not.  A shame because Crying Wolf works best when it's steeped in distinctly British satire and as an ensemble piece regarding a werewolf pack and their inner familial feuding when they aren't feasting on human flesh.  This is a film that actually showed promise as a cheeky ensemble cast driven hoot but is sucked down by the film's less than stellar production values.  Somewhere in here lies a halfway decent piece of entertainment but as is, it's difficult to tolerate.

Whether or not the lousy CGI effects and frankly silly looking rubber werewolf suits and masks were intentionally snarky or beyond the film's budget, they screech the film to a halt everytime they appear.  There's one shot in particular of CG rendered ants crawling down a tree and the entire effect briefly loses sync with the environment, making them shift in proportion inexplicably.  Other scenes of werewolf transformations look ridiculous with lame photo shopping applied to digitally stretch an actor's face and hastily add hair and fangs.  Then there's what I'm guessing are the 3D shots of werewolves lunging for the camera with shoddy looking rubber masks that make the wolf in The NeverEnding Story look like high art by comparison.  Visually it looks to be shot in 1.78:1 before being hastily matted down to 2.35:1, resulting in many shots where headroom is unintentionally cropped off and a character's eyes in a shot are clipped off at the top.  Some camera movement assisted by dolly tracking and crane shots are graceful with others likely unintentionally shaky, but those efforts are ruined by the clunky CG animation of werewolves pasted into the shot.  The film's Casio keyboard synth score doesn't help matters much nor does the soundboard of stock sound effects.

Are you scared by my rubber mask?
That said, the story of a pack of werewolves from all walks of England leaves ample room for parodying British stereotypes in between rampant cockney humor.  The familiar pubs in Shaun of the Dead and The World's End  show up here and their presence is a welcome distraction from the otherwise shoddy film at hand.  Other distractions are tossed in such as randomly bare breasted women waiting to be slaughtered when they aren't showing themselves off to the camera.  Characters are interchangeable but the aged and crusty homeless man was fun to have around.  Acting for the most part is okay although not much is required beyond fulfilling the expectations of the stereotypical characters.  At times as a movie it feels like a poor man's An American Werewolf in London with only a fraction of that film's comic and technical brilliance.  While no one was aiming for an Oscar here, some of the dailies do show technical proficiency and promise, all of which is ruined the moment those damn CG rendered werewolves show up.  As the film's end credits roll, we're treated to a gag reel of the cast and crew on the shoot goofing around and having fun, which is more than you'll have with Crying Wolf.


-Andrew Kotwicki

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