Travelers of the wild west make a stop at a small bar, but they're attacked by two bank robbers and get held up in the bar. But when night comes and the moon is blood red, there are worse things around than robbers.
Though I am a werewolf movie fan, I tend to skip the majority of movies that come out. Even when older, cheesy werewolf movies like the "The Howling" sequels suck, they do it with charm - but the modern movies are usually just horrible. A chore to get through, a face-palming experience once the underwhelming beast is revealed, effects that make you cringe for all the wrong reasons and so on. Even movies that have gotten some decent reviews like "Wer" are usually not scratching the itch. The mentioned "Wer" was werewolf-ish but nowhere near what I look for the in genre. The last movie to actually succeed was "Late Phases". My pessimism towards the modern entries does keep me from watching everything that comes out, but it doesn't keep me from reading up on them. One that did interest me was "Blood Moon". Despite looking like a mediocre plot, the werewolf seemed to live up to what I want and sometimes that's enough for a movie to be enjoyable (the gnarly werewolf of "Howling IV: The Original Nightmare" comes to mind). So I decided to check out this western werewolf movie that came out last month.
After a bank robbery that ends in murder in a small western town in Colorado, a group of random people are traveling to Denver. Among the travelers are a gunslinger, a no-bullshit women and a happy couple. The travelers make stop in a small town bar, but the owner is nowhere to be found. Instead they meet the two infamous bank robbers, who hold up the travelers in the bar until they have to leave. But there is something else out there in the blood moon light.
Do you know my stance on period pieces? Hate is a strong word, but it requires some magic for me to truly get into a period piece - especially if the movie is of a lesser budget. "Blood Moon" is a western movie, which is a great thing - there just aren't enough wild west horror movies. But it does take a while for the movie to sell me on the period, despite having the locations locked down. It's all in the atmosphere - and the lighting (which makes it look a bit like a play at times) and the music are just not quite there. The music does have a few moments of typical western music (which is okay), but when there's an almost metal style going on in the more intense scenes it takes me out of the setting a bit. I get why they went with it as it adds a pulse to the scenes, but it's not optimal for someone who is already struggling to get into the period setting (such as myself). But eventually the movie succeeds. Perhaps it's when they reach a deserted town and the night light holds off any flaws, but whatever reason at least I finally got into the setting after 30 minutes or so. It does still feel like a modern movie, obviously, but with the right intentions.
Storywise we've seen it many times before. A group of people are held up by bad guys while a monster is roaming about. It's an okay story, but certainly nothing that will stick out next to other werewolf greats. What I did enjoy was some of the characters. Not all of them, but I think that Calhoun (the gunslinger, played by Shaun Dooley) was entertaining in being a bad ass that tries too hard (think Clint Eastwood,... except it's more like Marion in "Undead"), the bank robbers were appropriately typical in the parts, and the no-bullshit lady Marie (played by Anna Skellern) was the most charismatic of the bunch.
"Blood Moon" is not a great movie (nor a bad movie), but it is a pretty decent werewolf movie. One of the things that keep it from being a good or great werewolf movie is that it takes too much time to build up a story that isn't too interesting to begin with. The werewolf scenes are actually some of the better in years (along with "Late Phases"). The werewolf looks horrific and menacing (again, much like "Howling IV: The Original Nightmare), and the costume is very effective. Some of the gore effects are excellent considering what I expected when I went into it. There are some CGI squib effects that didn't work as well, but I can forgive it for that.
When the movie gets into it, it absolutely succeeds in entertaining me. The issue is that it takes too long to get there, with a mediocre plot holding it up. The western setting works but it took a while for me (as period pieces are hard for me to get into). No, "Blood Moon" is not too memorable or a great original horror movie, but everyone who loves werewolves should give it a shot. If you're like me then you will appreciate the few werewolf scenes enough to be just satisfied enough when the credits roll. If you don't love werewolf movies, then I am sure there are better horror movies for you to check out though. "Blood Moon" might get lost among worst werewolf movies much due to its bland title, but hopefully it will reach the right audience.