Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Wild Country (2005)
Directed by Craig Strachan

This is a film with a lot of promise.

It tells the story of a 16-year old girl, who's just given up her baby for adoption.  Shortly after this occurs, she goes on a Church Youth Group overnight hike, and that's where things go off the rails.

Not with the filmmaking, but with the story itself.

This group of kids (two girls and three boys - one of whom is the father of Kelly Ann's baby and isn't supposed to be there), are accosted by a perverted shepherd and then hunted down in the darkness by a massive wolf-like beast.

A good portion of the first half of the film is set during the first night and a combination of poor lighting and overly restrained filmmaking instincts make it virtually unwatchable.  Not for the quality of the performances of the story itself, but it's literally too dark to make anything out.  There are a couple of murders, but we can just barely see what happens.  There's a huge monster, but we really don't see much of it at all.

There's a lot of pointing and shouting as if we should be able to see what's happening, but we can't.

By the time we get down to three survivors (mum, dad, and extraneous boy), I had lost interest.

Along the way, Kelly Ann finds a baby, takes it, and essentially sets off the killing that follows.  Because, of course, it's a baby Werewolf.  The monsters are mainly just trying to get their baby back, but this concept is never really brought to the forefront of the storytelling.

In fact, it's only driven home when we get to the end, with a finale that was just ridiculous and silly.

It seems that while breast-feeding the found child, Kelly Ann is bitten, and thus when we reach the climax of the film, she turns into a werewolf, with a werewolf pup hanging from her teet, and then strolls off into the wilderness with her werewolf mate, taking the place of the she-wolf she'd murdered earlier in the film.

It's all rather silly, and isn't helped by the design of the monsters.

If the first half of the film was hampered by a lack of lighting and avoidance of showing the monster, the back half gives us way too much monster to be enjoyed.  The design is big and bulky, more bear than wolf, with a huge, thick head with a nose that kept reminding me of something phallic and disturbing.

That might just be me, though, I admit.

In the end, this was a pretty average concept without much visual flair or inventiveness.  There are good bones here, and the story had potential, but ultimately it just couldn't find a way to tell the story that was the least bit interesting.  There's not even any good gore, which, while it's not a necessity, could have helped distract from the passionless presentation.

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