Riddle me this, fair reader: Have you ever seen the wonderful “Rear Window”? Did you ever see the cult classic “Fright Night”? Did you ever get to see the horribly overrated “Disturbia”? If the answer to one or more of those questions is yes, then guess what? You’ve already seen “Never Cry Werewolf”! The problem with director Brenton Spencer’s production is that it attempts to be a new spin on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and “Little Red Riding Hood” while also appealing to the teen crowd by appearing to be a mature harder edged R.L. Stine story with a twist of “Silver Bullet.” But in reality, it’s just another regurgitation of the classic Hitchcock tale in which an inept home owner discovers their neighbor may be up to devious misdeeds that may potentially threaten their livelihoods.
While I can normally forgive such a drastic derivation, “Never Cry Werewolf” just isn’t a good enough movie to forgive and forget. And though you have to appreciate that the writers go for something new with werewolves, it doesn’t discount the inexplicable plot devices posed to us. Did you know an ominous fog follows werewolves where ever they go? Did you know in the suburbs no one can spot a large bipedal beast walking around in the middle of the night? Did you know werewolves have the ability to invade their victims minds and hypnotize them? Did you know that apathetic high schoolers can still be impressed by guys on motorcycles? Did you know novelty silver bullet key chains can be used as actual bullets? Did you know bullets come out of the muzzles of shotguns when fired? And who knew a demonic beast could attack a gun store in mid-day and not even cause a stir?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the underwhelming meshing of story elements that we’ve seen a thousand times before. Our resident villain Jared Martins is a seemingly nice, charming and hunky residing in a run down house like Jerry Dandridge (“Fright Night”), has a guard dog who he’s mentally simpatico with just like Max (i.e. “The Lost Boys”), and shocking enough, heroine Loren reminds him of an old love a la Dracula. The rest of the story is set in the motions of the typical voyeurism, snooping, and investigation from Loren who scouts her neighbor Jared who brings home women to romance and inevitably maul to death, while conveniently coming across a cheesy television show host and survivalist named Redd Tucker, who becomes… what else? An ally in the plan to destroy Jared once and for all.
If this sounds painfully familiar, then try watching it. It shamelessly rips every single scene, bout of tension, and dichotomous relationship from “Fright Night,” even alluding to the potential romance between our heroine Loren’s single mom and our hunky next door demon. To top that off, heroine Loren even becomes a gun toting Rambo in minutes flat. Writer David Benullo presents a problematic dilemma by never being sure what his character’s motivations are. At times there seems to be a moral justification for Jared’s attacks like “Silver Bullet,” but then he immediately switches over to bringing him into the mustache twirling monster.
And you’ll love this: Loren even has an obnoxious best friend who falls under the claws of Jared. Oh yeah, we get our own updated “Evil”! Kevin Sorbo tries his damndest with an utterly ridiculous character trying anxiously to be taken seriously, but there’s really not much to take seriously her. How can you take a hero seriously when she preaches werewolf facts only after gaining her knowledge about the beasts through movies? I’d really love to be easier on this if the crew took some time to add a new spin to this story, but it’s a beat by beat rip-off of “Fright Night” and nothing more. That’s just… sad. From the screenplay, to the acting, right down to the entire premise, “Never Cry Werewolf” is a terrible wannabe with every bit of the script taken from much better titles in the horror genre and werewolf sub-genre. Skip it. Trust me.