In his late teens, Cayden understands that he has a curse that was passed down to him from his biological parents. He transforms him into a powerful but bloodthristy beast at night. One morning he wakes up in his home that is covered with blood. The blood trails lead to his slaughtered adoptive parents. He is now the prime suspect and has to escape. He ends up in Lupine Ridge, where he realizes that he is not the only lycanthrope.
The very best of werewolf movies have spoiled the genre, making it very hard for mediocre ones to even seem okay. It's an issue because the genre is sparse as it is and there definitely needs to be more made. It just happens to be that the good ones are really fantastic horror movies, but the bad ones are usually awful (or at the very least, lame). "Wolves" does not fall into the category of good werewolf movies, but it could have been okay if it wasn't executed like a teen TV drama.
As per usual, lycanthropy is used in a coming-of-age story, the transformation from boy to man (or, man to beast), and what have you. There is a limit to what you can do with the "curse" that is becoming a werewolf, and that's not really an issue. After what feels like a "previously on Wolves" style of opening, we're introduced to a young man and his realization that he is not just a regular boy.
"Wolves" is about Cayden, a young man who has to learn in his late teens that he is a werewolf. When he wakes up to find his adoptive parents murdered and gets the blame for it, he has to leave town. He ends up in Lupine Ridge as if destiny brought him there - this is the town of werewolves, and the town where he was born. He quickly gets onto the bad side of a local gang, but at the same time he falls for a girl - the local pub owner Angel. It turns out that the entire town is afraid of the gang, because they are a pack of wild werewolves that are up to no good. Cayden has protect the good folks of Lupine Ridge...
You can probably tell from the premise that there is a heavy dose of "Twilight", "True Blood", and what have you, in "Wolves". The movie is aimed towards a teenage audience, there is no doubts about that. It seems that both Njutafilms and Studio S Entertainment have had their eyes on the teen demographic with some of the latest releases. That's absolutely fine, but it's not really the type of movies I enjoy. I can't help but compare it to "Ginger Snaps", which is probably the most interesting werewolf metaphor movie out there, as well as one of the best horror movies about teens (and one that appeals as much as teenagers as adults). "Wolves" is pretty bad when you put it up against that, but truth is that "Wolves" is okay for what it is.
It's a struggle to get into the characters, as even the lead character is annoying. There is only one point in the movie where I thought he was a pretty decent main character, and that is in the tail end of the movie where he is in werewolf shape for a significant amount of time. There are just too many scenes that aim to have girls gushing over him, that it just felt awkward and stupid. Unfortunately the bad guys are rather silly too. They're trying a bit hard to be menacing that the movie just becomes a big testerone vs. hormone fight. It's no surprise in a clichéed coming-of-age tale like this. The main bad guy is played by Jason Momoa, who I coincidentally can't say I have ever seen in a decent role. There are two characters in the movie that I liked. Coincidentally they are both older characters, and that's important to note because they actually feel like they're from the old school of acting in comparison. I gotta give it up to Stephen McHattie (known from stuff like "Pontypool") and John Pyper-Ferguson for stepping into the movie and making me feel like I was watching something made for adults.
It came as a bit of a shock to me that David Hayter was the writer and director of "Wolves". Not due to his previous movie work ("X-Men", "Watchmen", "The Scorpion King" and so on), but rather because he is the voice of Snake from the "Metal Gear Solid" video games up until the fourth game. As a nerd, this made me very interested in the movie. I just wish that I could say much good about "Wolves". The best thing that the movie has going for it is convincing werewolf makeup/suits. I have never been a big fan of the wolf man, no-snout style of werewolves, and only really truly enjoy that style in old movies. At least the ones in "Wolves" are well done though. There is no escaping that they end up looking a bit like teddybears, but that comes with the wolf man style.
There are a few horrible moments in the movie, such as when Cayden is on his stolen motorcycle on the way to Lupine Ridge, and there's a greenscreen background that's on par with David Hasselhoff's music video for "Hooked on a Feeling". That a scene that looks as shitty as that was kept in the final edit is just bullshit. It's not like the scene served any purpose anyway. Just get a few shots of Cayden on the motorcycle and you're good! Beyond being a werewolf movie that's aimed towards a younger audience, scenes like that truly takes me out of the movie.
I wish I could say that David Hayter made something as iconic in "Wolves" as he did with his voice of Snake in "Metal Gear Solid", but that's not the case. The movie is watchable, but you should probably stay away if you actually expect a good horror movie. When the werewolf genre desperately needs something to fill the void, "Wolves" arrives as more of a rehash. The genre has a problem when you're looking at titles like "Blood Moon" and feel it's about as close to a heir to the classics as you get nowadays. "Wolves" does nothing to help the lack in werewolf movies. It seems made for kids in their mid-teens who are attracted to mysterious boys meeting even more mysterious girls and fighting for them, but for me there isn't much to take from it.