Ah the 2000s. The modern age of horror films. Which leads to tricky genre defying films that may or may not be horror movies, plus too many remakes and sequels. Still there are some high quality films, and remember: just because its old doesn't mean its good, and just because its new doesn't mean its terrible.
Much like From Dusk Till Dawn, this is as much an action movie as it is a horror film. Both genres are melded together very well however, especially since this also becomes a hybrid of different aspects of horror movies, ranging from the "Party lost in the woods and facing some unknown horrible danger," to the siege element most famously used in Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead. The description of the film according to one reviewer is that "Its Jaws meets Alien," but to me its more like "Predator meets Alien Meets Night of the Living Dead." Marshall though wisely makes the film his own, giving us his own unique twist on the werewolf genre.
Unlike zombies, which are frightening yet bumbling, and vampires, which are sleek, deadly, and refined, werewolves have the distinction of being humans turned into pure animals. As shown in the movie, they have their own predator instincts, but when there is no full moon take on the form of regular humans, therefore being harder to spot than other monsters. The badass moments in this movie kind of distract from any serious exploration of the creatures, but that is not even really needed since at this point they have been explored previously and we already have all the information there is to know about them.
In addition to being endlessly entertaining, Marshall in his limited time actually fleshes out most of the characters and makes us like some of them, something that is often discarded in the genre. This movie is not only notable for being quite enjoyable, but also an example of how it is still possible to create something that isn't a lame carbon copy of another movie already done before. I want to see more from Marshall, as The Descent looks terrifying, although Doomsday seems to be a bit on the lame side. 91
Confession: I've never read any of Lovecraft's works. This partly due to laziness, but mostly because after reading the descriptions of what they are about, I get a bit freaked out and lose my nerve. Seriously the thought of ancient monster elder gods slumbering, waiting to be awaken by human idiots that will end up becoming their slave meat puppets is pretty creepy. The movie kind of builds on that idea, if only limiting itself a bit due to its rather short and sweet running time.
Due to being a cool homage/throwback/experiment to silent cinema, the movie thrives largely on pure atmosphere, which is what the early silent horror movies and the Val Lewton films completely feed off of. Since the creators decided to use old school filming techniques, 1920s style acting (lots of lip reading, of course) they really weren't going to utilize more modern aspects such as the jump scare anyways. Which I actually like a great deal, being as these methods resulted in a truly eerie movie.
My only problem with this otherwise fine movie is the running length-its too goddamn short. Sure I admire the idea of leaving the audience wanting more, but many things could have been further fleshed out and the ending left me a bit unsatisfied. Yet I highly recommend checking this out, if only to enjoy a slice of cinema long since gone and now completely outdated. 90