I hadn’t heard of this film until it came out. I was going to avoid it until I saw the synopsis: a werewolf movie set during Roman invasion of Britain in 150AD. I was sold immediately. I was ready to go into this movie and enjoy it, I even had my facebook post ready for when I came out. It was going to be a true highlight of the year, and a great example of independent British cinema. I mean, that synopsis, plus that badass poster, this will be a film I rave about to everyone.
There’s just one small problem. One small thing that stops me loving this film; it’s a steaming pile of shit. I don’t say that lightly, I mean every single negative word I say about this film. Some films I don’t like and I know it’s a personal opinion and that others will love them (Wild, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood etc). In cases like that when someone says they like it I won’t disagree or think less of them. If someone said they liked this I’d assume they worked on it, and even then I’d have to ask if they’re sure. When I reviewed Father Figures (as seen here) I said this:
“I mean, it’s technically a film, but only in the same way that a Pot Noodle is technically food. I mean, it has moving images which are projected, and there is recorded sound that goes along with it, and you watch it in a cinema.”
In retrospect, that line deserves to be in this review. This film is incredibly amateurish. Almost everything about it is sub-student level. The acting (where the main cast include the director/producer, and the editor) is full of “are you sure that’s the best performance?”. Yes, the editor is in this film in a main role, and he fails as both an actor and an editor. The editing is a mess, far too many moments are cut WAY too quickly so it’s disorientating as a viewer. It’s not even during action scenes, standard conversations are cut in a way that gives you nausea. It will cut to a character who says a single syllable word, and then cut back to the other person. This doesn’t happen, but if a conversation consisted of:
then this film would have cut between them for every single syllable. That’s not the worst part about the editing, this film makes a cardinal editing sin; the audio changes between shots. So if you have two people talking, the background noise will be completely different depending on who’s talking. That would be a failing mark in a student film, in a film you’re watching at the cinema it is simply unacceptable. There’s another issue with conversations; people stand still whilst talking. In a film where they constantly talk about how quickly they need to move because they’re being hunted by a werewolf, every time they talk they stand completely still to do it. I’m guessing it was done for budget reasons as they couldn’t get tracks to do tracking shots, and handheld would have ruined it (although there are a lot of handheld shots in this, and yeah they’re bad), so they just had static cameras. But it makes the characters look really fucking stupid.
On the plus side, the makeup was really good. There’s a scene where someone bathes in a lake and you see their back covered in scars, it looks REALLY effective and kind of horrifying, especially since it’s not mentioned, it’s just subtle enough to be disturbing. And then they mention it in a way that ruins it. The other positive about this film is that eventually everybody involved in it, and everybody who saw it, will someday die and cease to exist. I’m not kidding, and I know you’re going to be sick of me saying this, but I cannot stress enough about how much you need to avoid this film. There were quite a few people in the screening and you could hear the laughter at some of the serious parts. I technically got in for free, and I still want my money back. I’m not even going to touch on the many MANY historical inaccuracies in this film.
It’s a shame as you can tell they put a lot of effort in, and it is a GREAT concept. But the film is without merit.