Friday, 16 October 2015

No.251 : Wer

Wer at the IMDb

I went into this film knowing nothing about it which turned out to be a good choice as there were plenty of surprises and wrong foots to keep me entertained. In retrospect the title is a bit of a clue but if you want to avoid spoilers read this after you’ve seen the film and we can compare notes.

The opening of the film isn’t too promising as it looks like it’s going to be another of those crappy found footage offerings. We see a young family of three enjoying a camp out in the French countryside. Happily two of them are grabbed by an unseen menace meaning we get to the film proper with the shaky camcorder consigned to the bin.

The narrative is driven along by the usual cavalcade of rolling news clips and we learn that a French local has been arrested for the crime. This hairy brute of a man seems a fair choice as he’s most hirsute  and doesn’t say much. The case however attracts the attention of an American lady lawyer who looks to defend the suspect and get to the bottom of the killings which now number three as Mom didn’t make it.

She butts heads with the French detective in charge of the case and conducts her own investigations which suggest that the authorities may have a vested interest in chasing the suspect off his land which is a prime location for a proposed nuclear waste dump, that the locals seem strangely keen on.

Things look good for the suspect when tests show he may have a crippling disease that would preclude him from any late night murdering and dismembering frenzies. He also looks to be off the hook when a fragging great grizzly bear is found in the countryside despite them being extinct in Europe for a century. The strobe test goes ahead however to determine if our man has the rare disease - huge mistake. He breaks his bounds and kills a load of people before escaping.

The lady lawyer, who is now starting to doubt her early protestations of our man’s innocence, resolves to try and track him down. Meanwhile her assistant has a worrying wound that’s growing by the day…

I really liked this film and am surprised that it isn’t better known. It’s largely shot in a manner similar to ‘Rec’ with a lot a steady cam work and running about in an almost drama documentary style. The pace is relentless and I like how it flipped from a straightforward detective story to a full on monster picture about half way through.

The violence was extreme with jaws pulled off and body parts scattered with abandon throughout. Some of the dialogue was subtitled which was fine for me but I know some people dislike it. I think the French setting was appropriate however with legends and ‘the old ways’ seeming more believable - unlike the bear which seemed totally out of place and was left unexplained.

There were a few too many cheap scares or my liking with all sorts of stuff jumping out like birds, bats and even a pig to give you an unearned jump.

They danced about the werewolf legend for almost all the film with diseases and reactions to the moon being full used in place of calling a wolfman a wolfman. This was OK and added to the film’s modern take on an aged and clich├ęd genre.

If you like a lot of gruesome violence and dislike the French this could well be the film for you as the body count must be in the dozens. I liked its reinvention of the genre and its fast paced and inventive script. Definitely one to look out for.

Best Bit : Jaw Dropping!
‘W’ Rating 19/23

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