Thursday, March 22, 2018

In short: Big Bad Wolf (2006)

Teenagers in cabins. Does is ever end well? Sensitive teen Derek Cowley (Trevor Duke) really wants to get into the student fraternity his deceased father – who died from having a leg ripped off by a werewolf while on a hunting trip in Africa, though his son doesn’t know that – belonged to at his age. So he has to agree when a couple of his future frat bros and their girlfriends ask him to host them for a weekend in the cabin in the woods belonging to his awful, abusive step father Mitch (Richard Tyson). In need of reinforcements, Derek also invites his friend and crush Sam (Kimberly J. Brown). A good decision, as it will turn out, for her solidly developed survival skills will save both of their asses when the cabin is attacked by a quipping werewolf who won’t ever shut up with rape jokes. Sam and Derek are the only survivors.

Back home, the two soon develop a terrible suspicion: Mitchell might not just be abusive, he’s a werewolf!

Lance W. Dreesen’s Big Bad Wolf is a frustrating movie, mixing sleaze, terribly unfunny humour, quite a bit (which is to say, too much) rapiness, solid filmmaking, good effects and some enticing ideas that attempt to treat the werewolf as a symbol for abusive men.

The last bit is obviously what I find interesting about the film. There are a couple of scenes which – also thanks to Tyson’s good performance – indeed seem to want to say something about what regular abuse – be it verbal or physical – does to its victims as well as to the humanity of its perpetrators. Unfortunately, these moments and the film’s sense of humour are no fit at all, seeing as it is a rather difficult proposition to seriously thematize abuse and its psychological consequences while making rape joke. It’s a bit as if Dreesen (who also wrote the script) was mashing two werewolf films of rather incompatible tones randomly together, weakening the interesting one decisively with the heap of bad decisions that is the other.

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