When I sat down to watch “Wolves,” for the most part, I knew what to expect. I have no problem watching campy, B-movies, or straight to DVD films, as long as they’re entertaining. Judging the film by that criteria, “Wolves” delivers a watchable movie, the formulaic plot of which is easy to follow. The film, which is parts action and horror, marked the directorial debut of David Hayter (X-Men), who also wrote the screenplay. The movie has a runtime of 91 minutes, and was co-released in Belarus and Russia on August 28, 2014.
Lucas Till’s character (X-Men Days of Future Past) high school quarterback, Cayden Richards, is the lead protagonist of the film. The movie opens with a few rapid images that are the product of a nightmare Cayden is having. He discovers, soon afterwards, that he is a werewolf. This new found persona is revealed during several incidents. One is the retaliation he delivers to an opposing player who took a cheap shot at him during a football game. Cayden’s actions nearly kill the guy. Next, while out with his girlfriend, Lisa (Kaitlyn Leeb), and the two are about to have sex, Cayden can’t control himself and the wolf is released, causing the terrified Lisa to run off. Cayden doesn’t know it at the time, but she is headed to the police station to report him. The cops show up at his home, right after he has awoken to find that his parents, Dean (Stephen Sparks) and Janice (Jennifer Hale), have been murdered. Not knowing what else to do, he flees into the night.
While at a truck stop, Cayden is approached by a prostitute who tries to proposition him; he turns her down. A short time later, the same woman is being brutally beaten by two men, who are filled with maniacal laughter at the sight of the damage they are inflicting on her. Cayden warns them to stop, but they don’t perceive him as a threat, so he steps in to save the woman. Afterward, he takes the leather jacket and motorcycle of one of the men he has decimated, and continues on his journey, no longer dependent on hitch hiking.
Arriving at a bar, he runs into a mysterious, disfigured man, named Wild Joe (John Pyper-Ferguson). Joe knows what Cayden is, but even though Cayden is desperate for answers, Joe is reluctant to help him. Before leaving, however, Joe takes a dart and throws it at a map; it lands on the town of Lupine Ridge, then he disappears.
Till’s character sets out for the place to get the answers he seeks. Cayden enters the town’s only bar, where most of the characters that appear in the remainder of the film are socializing. Using the fake name Danny, Cayden doesn’t make any friends, and after a potentially troubling incident with the girlfriend of one of the town locals, decides to leave. Two people, however, take a chance on Cayden, Stephen McHattie’s character, the good-hearted, farmer, John Tollerman, and his wife, Clara (Janet-Laine Green). John hires Cayden to work on his farm. John, who is also a werewolf, has taken a keen interest in Cayden; the reason for his interest is revealed later on in the movie.
Additionally, during his brief stay at the bar, Cayden meets, and immediately takes a liking to, the attractive, Angelina (Merritt Patterson). She owns and operates the place with her sister, Gail (Melanie Scrofano). Cayden’s interest in Angelina brings complications, in the form of Conner, a werewolf pack leader, portrayed by Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones). Unbeknownst to Cayden, Conner, who is getting older, wants to have a child, and he has chosen Angelina to procreate with. Angelina has agreed to the deal, because if she didn’t, Connor and his rabid followers would destroy all the residents of Lupine Ridge. As the film progresses, Cayden and Angelina fall in love. Once that happens, Cayden is determined to make sure that Connor not only doesn’t get to make Angelina the unwilling mother of his child, but that he ends his reign. Will he succeed?
Nothing that I saw in “Wolves” elevated the genre. Hayter attempts to add his own mythology to the werewolf lore by having Tollerman’s character state that those who are born with the werewolf blood are more powerful than those who are bitten. The purebreds can heal quicker from damage. The werewolves in this film also have the ability to transform whenever they feel like. The transformation scenes in the movie, however, were for the most part ignored. A viewer will know when a character is going to become a wolf, but not much will be shown in the way of the process. The acting by all involved was passable; McHattie and Mamoa, were especially good, doing their best with what they had to work with. The cinematography by Gavin Smith was well executed, and the makeup, which was done by too many people to list, was also quite good. For those of you who don’t mind B-movies, and like horror films (watered down), that depict werewolves, then “Wolves” should be an enjoyable watch.