'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' was a thrilling surprise to say the least. I hadn't heard much about this film, other than Universal's plan to release this film direct-to-video after they abandoned their plans to make sequels and spin-off films of their remake of 'The Wolfman' from 2010. Whoever made this decision, made a good one, because 'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' doesn't just bring the blood and guts, but it has clever twists and turns, and takes the werewolf legend to a different level.
In almost every werewolf film I have ever seen, the movie and characters deal with the werewolf as if it's the first time to ever come across one. Most films go into the legend, the folklore, and initial experience of dealing with this new beast. What's great about 'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us', is that there is none of this. It takes place in Transylvania, where werewolves are a common thing. Everybody knows about werewolves, and the town-folk have come to terms with the fact that they have to deal with with these beasts on an almost daily basis.
That is until a new werewolf starts causing trouble. This particular werewolf is unlike any other werewolf the townspeople have seen. This one is faster, meaner, uglier, and just hell-bent on causing death. It reminded me of 'Alien 3', with Ripley talking about how different the Alien is in that movie. However, low and behold, since werewolves are a constant menace, you can hire werewolf hunters. In 'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us', we get a gang of professional werewolf hunters, who promise to deliver the beast's dead body.
Don't let the title or fact that this is direct-to-video release dissuade you from watching or purchasing this, because this was actually quite good. There are some gory death scenes for you blood and guts fanatics out there, as well as a few surprises that would make M. Night Shyamalan take notice. The werewolf itself looked surprisingly good for not have a huge budget. It's a mix of CGI and actual prosthetics and makeup. After watch the behind the scenes featurettes on how they created the wolf, they could have just used the prosthetics and make up for the werewolf and left out the CG effects out.
Steven Bauer and Stephen Rea turn in decent performances with what they are given. Some of the dialogue is a bit cheesy and seems like it was written to air specifically on the SYFY channel. That being said, 'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' is a new take and glimpse into the werewolf genre, and it is most welcome. While this won't be remembered or brought up in any werewolf conversations, this sharp and bloody little film should be seen.
'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' comes in a glorious 1080p transfer with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Given this fim had a low budget and direct-to-video treatment, I expected a sub par video presentation. That's not the case here.
'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' was all shot in HD, so in the bigger cinematic moments, the film doesn't have that grander scale you'd expect from a big action sequence. The colors are quite good, but sometimes muted, given that this is a period piece. The detail is amazing, as was the depth.
The blacks were deep and inky with the great textures and the flesh tones were natural and smooth. I did not notice any halos or aliasing, however there was a very small bit of image noise here and there. I was surprised how good the video was with the small budget they had.
'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' sports a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix, which has a powerful sound.
The dialogue is crisp and clear and perfectly distributed on the center channel. The big action sequences pack a punch with the bass pounding and the ambient howls, screams, and weapons coming across strong on all the speakers.
I did not notice any hissing or dynamic distortion of any kind here. Although, the score is something less desired, it was never overdone and never drowned out the sound FX or the dialogue. This was a good audio presentation, a little better than the video.
'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' is a fun and new take on the werewolf genre. There are some great twists and surprises throughout and enough buckets of blood and entrails for grandma too. With such a low budget, the video and audio presentations came out quite well. The extras were too few and too short, but it had a great commentary. 'Werewolf: The Beast Among Us' won't be in any top 10 lists, nor is it in mine, but it's at least worth a look.