4 out of 10


Canadian Cult Movie

I would have added "Cheap" before "Canadian Cult Movie", but that would have been a tautology. Look at any web site for a list of the 100 worst movies of all time and you'll invariably find a thick carpet of Canuk flicks that have sunk down there like debris in a stream falling to the river bed. Unlike Hollywood, the entire industry in this country is built on scamming the Government for tax breaks, leaving directors with nothing but an endless row of nickel and dime budgets...And with just $5million on the tab, John Fawcett must have felt he had little chance of churning out anything much but projector fodder rather than a flick that has become a small time horror cult classic.

In essence, the story is one that seems so trite, a teen is bitten by a werewolf and he friends and relatives try to prevent the slaughter that will follow. Almost from the opening scene, it seems as if one's worst fears are justified. There's plenty of gore with special effects are so laugh-out bad that you almost expect to see Heintz Tomato Ketchup as a key sponsor. Likewise, the script is so amateurishly wordy that you want to shout out "Get on with it" with tedium at regular intervals and hiring the director of TV's "Queer As Folk", Thom Best and his crew results in a flick that looks more like a TV programme. So what makes it so special that would run to both a sequel and a prequel?

Firstly, for all of to a novice Karen Walton's inability to precis, she had clear ideas that takes the story to a further depth that allowed a generation of late teens to identify with its angst. Reaching puberty, has left the two sisters insecure, to which they react, as so many do, by turning Goth. Forming a suicide pact, they rapidly become outcasts at their high school, not least for photographing each other in poses as if they had been died either in a hideous accident or had committed suicide. Into this, the bite by the werewolf comes as a parallel to becoming a woman, with the younger sister, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) being bitten on the night that she has her first period.

As the body count mounts, own personal risk, her sister, Brigitte (Emily Perkins), seeks to protect her from discovery and struggle to find a cure. Despite this being only Perkins second film, has succeeded in bringing people to tears through her intense and touching devotion to her sister that comes across so genuine that you stop noticing the strings pulling the plaster cast werewolf's mouth, her misfitting wig slipping or the sunlight shining through windows at the supposed depths of the night. It is the sort of performance that you don't expect from anyone on less than $25million a movie to turn in. Maybe she was high on drugs and thought this was reality, who knows, but by the final reel, the careers of a bunch of lacklustre fill-in actors and a tax-dodge flick had just been singlehandedly promoted to small time cult status...and true to their basic instincts when faced with a rare success, the Canadians made them with an even SMALLER budget.

Worth pulling out of the Walmart Clearance Bins

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett