TITLE: Howl
YEAR RELEASED: 2015
DIRECTOR: Paul Hyett
CAST: Ed Speleers, Sean Pertwee, Holly Weston, Shauna Macdonald, Elliot Cowan, Rosie Day, Calvin Dean, Duncan Preston, Ross Mullan


REVIEW BY SIMON BALL


Ever wondered what would happen if you took the plot of Howard Hawks’ western Rio Bravo and set it on a train instead of a jailhouse?

OK, John Carpenter sort of did that with Ghosts of Mars, but how about setting it on a late night commuter train in England and replacing the angry ranchers with a pack of ravenous werewolves, that in a nutshell is Howl.

Trainguard Joe’s (Ed Speleers) bad day takes a turn for the worse, when after being turned down for promotion, his new supervisor puts him on the late night service from Waterloo to Eastmoor.

A scene from Howl 2015
A scene from Howl 2015

As the train heads through a dark wood it hits something and the driver (Sean Pertwee) gets out to take a look.

This is seldom a wise idea when the moon is full in a horror film.

When he doesn’t return Joe gets pressured by the passengers to lead them on to the next station by foot.

Everything seems to be going fine, but then Joe finds the driver’s body and in the mad scramble to get back to the safety of the train a passenger gets bitten.

The train then comes under sustained attack from the werewolf pack outside while the social cohesion of the motley group of late night passengers buckles under the strain within as Joe struggles to find the leadership qualities that the interview board didn’t think he had.

Director Hyett builds an effective aura of suspense in the lead up to the frenzied werewolf attack on the train, there’s nice atmospheric camera work, lighting and sound design and some excellent gory action sequences.

The acting is solid from the largely unknown cast and the werewolf make-up and prosthetics are pretty good too.

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