Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 29 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Strong Horror Violence, Gruesome Images and Language
Directed by: William Brent Bell
Written by: William Brent Bell & Matthew Peterman
Starring: A.J. Cook, Brian Scott O’Connor, Vik Sahay, Sebastian Roche & Stephanie Lemelin
I really don’t want this review to go into personal attack territory. I sincerely promise that I am making a conscious effort not to resort to petty insults regarding the director/writer of this film. I will just say this on William Brent Bell. The man has yet to make a good horror film. It’s not even like his movies are just mediocre. They appear to be on a steady decline. STAY ALIVE sucked, but it was watchable in the sense of laughing through all the idiotic ideas thrown into a plot that may have been fun in any other hands. There was no excuse for THE DEVIL INSIDE winding up so terrible, especially the lack of a palpable conclusion. In my experience of seeing DEVIL INSIDE opening night, I witnessed audiences throwing things at the screen, booing, and even spitting on the theater floors. Needless to say that there’s a very good reason that WER (the latest from Bell) has only seen release in a few foreign countries thus far.
It’s currently available to import from Japan if you feel the need, but I wouldn’t recommend giving this film a second thought. WER is the worst werewolf movie I’ve ever seen and one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen in my life (keep in mind that I ran a horror-dedicated review site from 2010-2013). It’s a piece of cinematic garbage that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day and if there’s any justice in the cinematic world, it will be dumped with little fanfare direct-to-DVD. Bell tries to take the different route in approaching a monster that hasn’t had many good films surrounding it (GINGER SNAPS was the last great one) and nothing works in the film’s favor. There are few words that can get across the astounding levels of awful this movie reaches.
WER is shot between found footage and traditional narrative (though the nauseating camera work would lead you to believe otherwise). A family is attacked by a savage beast and all that remains (aside from a couple of dismembered corpses) is a scarred survivor. Thus a manhunt ensues after a few crucial details come to light revealing that a human is responsible for the slayings. Kate, a defense attorney living in France, is brought to defend the one and only suspect, Talan. Talan is a hulking figure, but carries a rare disease that seemingly makes it impossible for him to have carried out the bloody attack. The case get complicated as Kate learns that Talan may in fact be a “werewolf” and things get a little hairy (see what I did there?).
It would be great if WER was any damn good or even remotely scary. Instead, Bell and co-writer Matthew Peterman take a slow-burn route. I’d applaud them for this approach, if there were any characters worth giving a shit about. We get some atypical drama revolving around a failed relationship and things eventually get into the “werewolf” action around the halfway mark. I put the word “werewolf” in quotes, because I do not consider WER to be a movie revolving around the much beloved vicious beast that devours by the full moon. In an attempt to reinvent the legend, Talon is made into a more human version of the monster. By which I mean, there’s not a full-on transformation sequence with him growing a snout, claws, or looking remotely like a wolf. Instead, Talon comes off more like resembling a caveman, than the title monster this movie is supposedly named after. That’s also a dumb title. Seriously, WER? That’s it.
Bad characters and horrid acting bring an even worse script to life. A.J. Cook, who was pretty good in FINAL DESTINATION 2, doesn’t bring anything to the screen. The camera work, even in the traditional narrative mode, is shaky enough to be considered found footage quality. Bad CGI gore is showcased in what little bloody scenes there are. Mainly, WER is guilty of the cardinal sin in a movie: it’s boring! STAY ALIVE and THE DEVIL INSIDE, as lame as they both are, didn’t come off as completely dull. That’s what WER is. It’s a terrible film any way you slice it. Also this is a pet peeve, but people need to stop calling WER a found footage horror film. Half of it is found footage and the other half is really cheap looking camera work. It all comes off as bad filmmaking.
For a movie called WER, there aren’t any real werewolves. Just a shirtless bad actor running around acting like a werewolf. Even if you can take this unconventional approach on a beloved monster, everything else feels cheap and badly executed. WER is currently available on Japanese home video, but I wouldn’t recommend spending a penny on this film. For all the bad-mouthing and seething hatred that I’m bringing to this review, I will give Bell credit on one single moment. Instead of having the clichéd jump-scare with a cat, he changes the animal to a pig. It still sucks, but I’ll admit that I had a hearty laugh in that one second.