Werewolves are hot right now, but you wouldn’t know it from Night Wolf, a howlingly average and predictable British entry that sadly marks the final film of Simon MacCorkindale, ’80s star of TV’s Manimal and the misbegotten Jaws 3-D. The plot plops a bunch of slackers in a dark and empty family farmhouse on the same night that one’s got-it-together half-sister (appealing and capable Isabella Calthorpe, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People) comes home.
The group’s session of drinking and toking and quasi-lap dances from busty blonde Gemma Atkinson (Boogie Woogie, and my overriding reason for watching the entire thing) comes to an end when it’s discovered that Dad’s been made into a meat dish by the … wait for it … Night Wolf!
Lots of WolfCam POV shots ensue as the gang — including better-than-this Tom Felton (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) — runs from room to room via the convenient attic that conveniently connects every square foot in the place. The only tension, however, is that displayed by the characters who grow increasingly tired of one another. Lord, we know how they feel.
From Canada, Hidden is a smudge better, although it’s almost the same movie in concept, with more young people than need be in one spot traversing the bowels of a long-empty structure. It just replaces werewolves with flying insects and little people whose mouths hide CGI tentacles. And for this, Hidden apparently played theaters in 3-D. The DVD isn’t, not that being so would add to your enjoyment.
Protagonist Brian Carter (Sean Clement) wanted nothing to do his mother, an addiction therapy researcher who was using insect toxins as a revolutionary cure for relapse, but she left him her Divine Sanctuary center in her will, anyway. He doesn’t want it, yet brings an entire team out, including an architect, to check it out.
Why, yes, it does hold secrets! How’d you know?
Hidden boasts nifty, scratchy Seven-esque credits and plenty of built-in ambience, but nothing else. I didn’t realize it until afterward, but the screenplay is credited to Alan and Alana Smithy. Considering they have no other projects on their filmographies, I’m guessing these are pseudonyms that nod to the now-retired Alan Smithee credit, once used by filmmakers who wanted to disown their work, as if it were so bad, they didn’t want their names attached.
Further considering the director is only credited as “M.R.” — that’s it, two measly initials — the theory seems solid. And, to be honest, perfectly understandable. —Rod Lott