Sometimes cheesy, occasionally nonsensical, but kept solidly on the rails by an interesting story and some splattery goodness. Werewolves get all scientifical!
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Directed by William Brent Bell
It’s a story as old as, well… wolves, I guess. The werewolf. Those vicious, hirsute denizens of the night have long been prowling around the edges of our favorite genre. From classics like Ginger Snaps (2000), An American Werewolf in London (1981), and Dog Soldiers (2002) to Lindsay Lohan’s raging dumpster fire, Among the Shadows (2019), if you’ve got a craving for some hairy horror there’s a movie out there to suit your taste.
Writer/director William Brent Bell’s Wer (2013) easily fits somewhere in the middle of the pack. Based in France, Wer tells the story of American civil rights lawyer, Kate Moore [A.J. Cook; TV’s Criminal Minds (2005 – 2020)], and her team who have been hired to defend a man accused of murder.
Okay, maybe “accused of murder” is putting it too lightly. This quietly eccentric giant of a man, Talan Gwynek [Brian Scott O’Connor in his first and only role in anything, according to IMDB], is accused of attacking a young family of three: brutally mauling the wife, killing the husband, and mostly devouring their pre-teen son. What follows is part C.S.I., part police procedural, and part bloody mess.
The French police lead by Commander Pistor [Sebastian Roché; HBO’s The Man in the High Castle (2016 – 2018)] reluctantly work with Ms. Moore and her legal team as she tries to prove shaggy Mr. Gwynek couldn’t possibly have eaten that small family. Research is done, conditions diagnosed, and experiments performed. The end result being carnage, death, and bodies rent asunder. Well done, legal team!
Wer is a bit of a slow burn, but it has a satisfying payoff for the viewer who sticks with it. Truthfully, A.J. Cook has never been able to carry a movie and the complete absence of chemistry between her and Simon Quarterman [HBO’s Westworld (2016 – 2020)] — the legal team’s animal expert and supposed love interest for our main character — doesn’t do the movie any favors. Just ignore all that, though. The story is fun, the scientific exploration of lycanthropy is entertaining, and the action sequences are satisfyingly brutal.
If you’re a fan of those of a wolfen persuasion, do yourself a favor and check out Wer. This strangely little-mentioned film manages to hold its own in spite of its flaws and is a good time to boot.
Wer is available for streaming from Amazon and likely all sorts of other places as well.
Review by Robert Zilbauer.