Director BC Furtney’s “Werewolf Rising” might be a decent werewolf horror film if it took its eighty minute run time and trimmed it down to forty five minutes. The rest of the thirty five minutes are nothing but padding, filler, and bad exposition that are meant to compensate for the obvious lack of narrative present. There is so much obvious padding that it actually becomes an endurance test, because while I was irritated at the script treading water, there is still so much here that could have become a great werewolf picture. Unlike most indie werewolf films, there is actually a good portion of werewolf action, with rampaging monsters, and transformations, and a chase through the woods, I just wish we’d seen more of that, and less people getting drunk in bars.
In one instance we have to watch character Emma have dinner with a town local who gets drunk on wine, and then tries to make a move on her. She angrily pushes him out of her house and he drives off to a bar. This all happens as if there’s some relevance to the narrative occurring and nothing happens, except director Furtney’s odd focus on the character rambling drunkenly in a dive bar. It was during these scenes I thought to myself “Okay now the director is just wasting time, here.” Director Furtney constantly dashes expectations by bringing audiences what they’d expect from this little outing, and in those respects he really seems to be on the right track.
The prologue with Bill Oberst Jr. as a serial killer who takes his female victim out to a desert only to get mauled by a werewolf is a neat set up. I especially love the irony of the victim ultimately being a victim, while the human monster survives to become a supernatural one. Oberst, for all his limited screen time, is a menacing villain, and one teeming with charisma and power. It’s just a shame that the movie really isn’t about him until the finale, and then it all just ends too abruptly for us to really soak in the narrative or any of the film’s events. Not to mention that, once again, the filler completely destroys the attempted momentum in the narrative.
If Furtney would have tackled the themes of alcoholism as promised, and used that to form a connection with lycanthropy and the inner beast within the characters, “Werewolf Rising” could have been great, but when the dust settles, there really is nothing but potential. And that doesn’t add up to a good film. “Werewolf Rising” is a tedious, plodding, and utterly dull horror effort that wastes Bill Oberst, and seems to have nothing to do with the concept of the werewolf. It’s never made clearer than in the painfully obvious padding throughout. And the score here that blatantly knocks off the score from “Halloween” is inexcusable. There’s an homage and then there’s just downright plagiarism.