Just what we need, another film about wolves. Well, at least that is what writer/director David Hayter thinks. Best known for his screenplay work on X-Men and its sequel, Hayter makes his feature-length directing debut with Wolves, an '80s throwback film that follows a high school football player who isn't quite as human as he once thought.
If you've seen one movie about werwolves, you've likely seen Hayter's--or at least something painstakingly similar. Though the indie film shows signs of originality (most notably during its initial thirty minutes) and tries hard to be something a bit different, it ultimately falls short of truly making its mark as it succumbs to its familiar roots and uninteresting characters.
After killing his parents in the middle of the night, Cayden is forced to hit the road. In the small, remote Lupine Ridge, he discovers others like him. It is in Lupine that the film begins to struggle. Though carrying a quick pace, the story hits a roadblock of sorts, unable to catch its footing as it works to introduce Cayden's ancestry and give him a reason to take on the town's alpha-male and work his way into the middle of a long battle between two ancient clans of wolves. Surprise"¦it all stems from his immediate attraction to Angel, the owner of the only bar in town.
While I'll credit Till and co-star Merritt Patterson for an impressive werewolf sex scene, there is no depth to the sudden undying love between the two. They lock eyes across the bar and boom"¦Cayden becomes irresistible. (I can assure you from experience"¦it doesn't work like that.) The move is cheesy, unneeded, and a bit ridiculous -- but then again, I'm not completely sure that Hayter didn't intend for this.
While the film posses a strong visual aesthetic, you can't help but immediately notice that the dialogue is rough, and the voiceover from Cayden (Lucas Till) makes you feel like a pre-schooler, slowly being led through the halls on your way to the playground. Hayter forgets that his audience has a sense of intuition, a brain of sorts. The play-by-play account of what Cayden is doing is an unnecessary distraction from the special effects/make-up work that is surprisingly sound given the film's obvious budget restraint.
The film relies heavily on its quick pace and entertaining fight sequences until the very end when Hayter gives us an overly complex ending that takes back nearly everything we witnessed over the previous hour and a half. It is a reckless move on the director's part as he does the very thing he was desperately trying not to do"¦be predictable.
In the end, Wolves is a cliché Twilight meets Sons of Anarchy mash-up that, much like its central character, never fully understands its own identity. It has its moments, and Hayter could have made it something truly special. But alas, it simply wasn't meant to be. I personally didn't mind the film though I can assure you that I have absolutely no interest in watching it again. I'm not looking to get my time back, but its appeal is inconsistent and a bit unorthodox, making it nearly impossible to recommend.