WerewolfBerlin Film Festival 2017
The characters in a film certainly don’t need to be likeable, but they must be interesting, however subjective that might be. It’s also helpful if they’re memorable. The two protagonists in Werewolf, the debut feature from Canadian director Ashley McKenzie, manage to be unlikeable, dull, and immediately forgettable. Nessa (Bhreagh MacNeil) and Blaise (Andrew Gillis) are reliant on their regular medically prescribed methadone fixes as a means of easing them off drugs altogether. They earn a meagre living (not that most people would consider what Blaise and Nessa are doing as living) from going door to door with a ramshackle lawnmower, insistently pleading with the residents that they should be allowed to mow the lawn.
As Blaise, Andrew Gillis has a disagreeable manner and a voice that becomes annoyingly nasal when he’s agitated (which is often). Bhreagh MacNeil’s Nessa stumbles through life as though lobotomised. Methadone reliance and the drug addiction that preceded it can partially explain these attitudes and mannerisms, and yet given that the rest of the film is so slight, these negative traits are amplified to the point that they define the characters. At the only real time where they express any form of ambition (talking about getting away from their unremarkable town), the dialogue is so trite that it would even be rejected by EL James.
The movie is a clutter of distracting camera angles, as though someone knocked the camera askew and didn’t bother to correct it. Often scenes are shot in extreme close-ups of random parts of the action, such as a conversation that takes place while the audience stares at the top of Blaise’s head. A close-up can create a sense of intimacy, but this is impossible when the viewer is being persuaded (or begged) to feel a closeness to such repellent characters. The only respite from the odd camera placement is when it becomes handheld, wobbling around like a bowl of jelly. At one point when going door to door with their lawnmower, Blaise and Nessa are offered money to simply go away. Cinema audiences would probably gladly pay them to do the same.
Werewolf is released nationwide on 2017.
Werewolf does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Werewolf here: