Two Middle Fingers, Crossed Perpendicularly – A Review Of The Howling: Reborn

The entity that is the werewolf film needs an enema. A while back, around the release date of one of the new Twilight films, Ted Brown and myself composed a list of 30 vampire and werewolf films we felt people should watch, instead of wasting money on the Twilight franchise. To a genre fan, this sounds simple, right? Well, compiling vampire films worth watching was no trouble. But, when we got to the werewolf section of the article, it was hard enough to find 15 werewolf films in general, let alone 15 werewolf films that were actually good. I’m not sure what it is about this particular sub-genre that causes filmmakers to steer clear. It’s clearly a theme that interest horror movie fans, and even the casual viewer. Is it the trouble you have to go through to create a good looking creature? Is it the effects heavy nature of the project it’s self? I haven’t quite figured it out, but something has to change. Unfortunately, The Howling: Reborn does nothing to breath new life into the genre.

If I’m being completely honest, this new entry into the Howling franchise feels like a screenplay someone write in early 1997, amidst the post-scream modernization of horror craze. There is even the horror nerd character that adds the element of self reference to the film. A werewolf film, partially self aware, but not so much that it becomes a parody of it’s self, much like the later films in the Scream franchise, and it’s imitators. All of the things that made the Scream films appeal to such a wide audience are attempted here. It’s the same formula, for the most part. Replace masked killers with terrible looking werewolves, and you have this film. Even songs made popular by Scream and other films like it were utilized in the soundtrack. It’s as if someone wrote this during that point in history, then got drunk and forgot it in a desk drawer. For the most part, I wish they wouldn’t have remembered.

I’m going to be honest, TH:R is not as terrible as the trailer led me to believe it would be. It is at least mildly entertaining. I can see that the producers, along with the art director, and costume designer are attempting to rope in the Twilight crowed here as well. Each character is presented with textbook clique cliches. The nerd is, well.. a nerd, glasses and all. The jocks are very jock….y, and the goth crowd is very emo’esque. No one character has any sort of depth, they just sort of play the type of character they were told to play, it appears. I will give them credit for casting the main character’s love interest with someone I found to be unconventionally beautiful. She’s not HUGE, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s nice to see a girl with some curves given the opportunity. I’m so tired of the barbie doll shit we’ve been force fed thus far. Woman have curves people, get over it.

Overall, The Howling: Reborn does nothing to break the trend of shitty werewolf films, in a narrow field of competitors. It could have been worse, of course, but that’s not something one should etch onto a plaque. The film is rated R, but it honestly didn’t feel like it. There’s no real violence to speak of, nothing graphic anyway. There is sexually suggestive scenes, but no sex occurs, nor does any sort of nudity. We’re treated to a few scenes of ALMOST side-boob, but that’s as far as it goes. The effects are cheap, and cheesy as hell. There are a few partial transformation scenes, but nothing that’s going win over fans of the original, or An American Werewolf In London, for that matter. The creature effects appear to be practical for the most part, but that doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t look good at all.

Basically, if you’re like me, and you’re constantly hunting for a new werewolf film to wet your whistle, you may as well keep hunting. You’ve seen this film before, in more forms than one, and unless you absolutely have to, like, if you’re some Howling franchise completist, then there’s no reason to add this to your collection. If you see it streaming on Netflix, which you likely will very soon, you could find a better film, but it would be the suggested method of consuming this one. It’s not a film that made me hostile. I don’t wish any of the people involved in the production to be met with a horrible fate, but I don’t care that the film exists either. It simply is what it is.


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About Shawn Savage

I am the creator, co-owner, and editor of The Liberal Dead. I have been obsessed with the horror genre since watching the original Friday the 13th with my aunt at the age of 3. If you would like to contact me directly for any reason, you can reach me at
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  • DeathBunny2000


    Your review is GOOD and very true. Your points are accurate and informational to anyone with a brain, and VERY helpful for someone wondering if they should be interested in this late coming ‘sequel’ to the original 30 years ago movie. Thank you. I do have one question, is it really even related to “The Howling” or they just glommed on the name because there is a werewolf. I had fear they would make it for teens and all “twilight….y”. Kind of like how the ‘Pinhead’ character was ‘sold’ and sold out after the first, say, 5 Hellraisers. The rest being totally 100% unrelated and making no sense what-so-ever. And yes, as you mentioned in this review, I am a ‘franchise’ completest regarding Hellraiser (no other movies though; yet, anyway). It was amongst my favorites that actually had a sequel, and I just would always feel like I would have to watch it out of loyalty, if no other reason. Of course the one with Lance Henriksen, also because he was in it, and it didn’t even help. :P bleah.

    But after reading it, Shawn, you need a proofreader. Seriously, and especially being a ‘writer’. If you want free proofreading. Let me know. If you don’t understand why I suggest it, let me know and I will tell you. I don’t work, I am home pretty much 24 hours a day, and my free time is spent watching horror movies, reading, creating English subtitles for movies like DUST DEVIL for which I can find none, and writing. I do stuff like this all the time for people, and if I am going to read your reviews ANYWAY and feel the need to correct, why not actually do it?

    Again, thank you for your reviews, I watch many, many horror movies, and good reviews like this (that I understand where you are coming from and feel the same way) are important to me, so I don’t waste my time. I have always been a horror movie buff. So was my son. We spent SO much time watching Dead Alive, George Romero zombie movies, Evil Dead(s). Renting so many movies that there was almost nothing left in horror for us to watch! lolll I remember when Romero’s Land of the Dead came out in 2005, we were sooo happy. He took the bus to where I worked, so we could leave together the minute I got off to go see it the day it came out. We were even going to wear zombie makeup, but, I worked too late…we made it, barely! He was 14. He passed away at age 15, and honestly, watching movies (non horror too) are some of my greatest memories of us together.