So I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw someone in one of my horror community pages post a meme about it being Werewolf Wednesday.
About a half hour later, when I finally controlled myself after laughing so damn hard, I thought: what the hell - let's have Werewolf Wednesdays! Why not?!
Folks, you know I'm a huge werewolf fan - a rabid fan, one might say - and when I was trying to come up with a werewolf film to watch, to kick off the inaugural Werewolf Wednesday, I suddenly and instantly (and oddly) thought of:
[clears throat, takes a deep breath] Okay, here we go.
I would first like to send a formal apology for my completely, totally, utterly lame first review of this film, which I wrote in 2012.
I've learned so much. I've grown so much. This film is still not great, BUT boy howdy, how perspective and appreciation can change over the course of nearly 17 years from when I first saw this film. Moreover! I wrote that itty bitty review seven years after I watched this movie only once!
Let's dive into why this review is taking a 180 from 10 years ago:
I first saw this film right around 2006, when I was in the height of my hipster stage, sporting white belts, smoking in bars, and running around town with my lead singer of a band bodyfriend. Good times. My horror movie connoisseur skills were just begining to really bud and frankly, I was mostly just watching David Lynch films or campy movies from the '50s and '60s. Not much in-between.
And then this film fell into my lap and I was all, WTF is this? I was not a fan. I didn't understand its style or rhythm, the werewolf costume made me laugh, and I simply wasn't able to pay much attention or take the film seriously (if that was their intention).
Over the years, occasionally this film would pop up in my head and I wondered about watching it again, but never made an effort to do so until this new fandangled Werewolf Wednesday. And I am so glad I did! I had a riot of a good time!
This is the story about a werewolf that has been spotted around Bray Road, in Walworth County Wisconsin, for years. So the movie is not lying - it is in fact based on actual accounts of sightings of this mysterious cryptid. Although I doubt these accounts involve a new sheriff, the small town bar, and a rapidly growing body count.
But that's where the fun comes for the movie watcher!
The film is so deliciously mid 2000's, I could barely contain myself. It's a special type of treasure that begins to shine brighter over time. For example, this line sent me over-the-edge in delight: "I brought my picture phone" and he whipped out his flip phone. Lololololololo. And if we didn't already need another reminder of how COVID changed everything, this gem of a line is also stated: "...the ebola virus for werewolves..." Oh lordy.
This movie is campy, salty, bloody, and actually tighter in plot and acting than I remembered. However, there's a few yikes moments. Slurs are said a small handful of times to enhance the douche baggery of some folks. But still, yikes folks, yikes. So ... there's that.
Let's get to the actual werewolf. I am a big fan of practical effects, especially when it comes to creature features. While I laughed in almost mockery for the first viewing, by the second, I laughed with charmed amusement. Folks, while the beast here is murdering on a tight budget, you can tell a whole lot of love went into creating it - and it shows. This werewolf is not exactly hiding in the film either, it's full monster a lot of the time (i.e., not just showing an arm or hinting at its existence, etc), which I really appreciate now and didn't really understand then. It's a fun monster, folks!
Now this might just be hilarious to me, but I'm a big Josh Gates fan, and when the cryptozoologist in this film rolls into town after hearing rumors of the beast, I was on The FLOOR, in tears. Did Josh Gates get his exploring attire from this film? The other way around?! Was this actor hired because he looks like Gates? This is now its own mystery and I am beside myself in delight! LOLOLOLO
Now, this also might just be entertaining to me, but there was a very brief reference to Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and my ears perked right up. Was this a nod to the book (and film) Wisconsin Death Trip??!?!?
Never, never in my life did I think I would write up so much about The Beast of Bray Road, but here we are. My brothers might not side with me and my new found appreciation for this film, but I'm happy to be here.
Shout out to 10 years ago me who wrote this, about the film: "...that all said, I own this movie. I'm waiting for a perfect time to re-watch with friends as I'm sure I will have a different, truly entertaining experience. Maybe I'll see more things which were missed during the first viewing."
ZING! NAILED IT! High-five Me!
In all, I'm so glad I gave this film a second chance. Grab your friends, that cooler full of beers, sit down and have a great time with this cheeky little surprise.