14th Oct2014

‘The Wolves of Savin Hill’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: David Cooley, Brian Scannell, Kurt Fuller, Jack McGee, Michael Massee, Paul Carafotes, Tim De Zarn, Tonya Cornelisse, Megan Davis, Suzanne Willard, Jordan Van Vranken, Marco Verdier, Jason Oliver, Tiprin Mandalay, Nicole Haddad | Written and Directed by John Beaton Hill

Savin-Hill-cast

Childhood friends from the streets of Boston drift apart following a shocking discovery deep in the woods of Savin Hill. Years later a tragic murder brings them together again. But for one man, it’s no mistake. A trap has been set. After serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, Tom Greys (David Cooley) is released from prison with a score to settle: he is dead-set on tracking down the man who set him up… his childhood best friend and L.A. cop, Sean O’Brien (Brian Scannell). Ravaged by his friend’s betrayal, Tom hunts Sean through the dark streets of Los Angeles and finds himself trapped in a web of lies only a devil could weave. Face to face at last, the two men are caught in a final and explosive showdown. After years of gut-wrenching deception, it can only end with one man standing.

The Wolves of Savin Hill describes itself as a tale of ‘betrayal, madness and revenge’. It is definitely trying to be one of those gritty and dark ‘bad cop, good convict’ style shows and the story does achieve that. Sort of. To start with, it gets a bit confusing with a lot of time jumps which can only really be identified by watching Tom’s beard change from black to slightly more silvery, which I guess indicates his age. Many times I had no idea where I was in the time line because, apart from the obvious grainy camera in the childhood scenes, all the other scene look pretty much the same, the other characters not changing at all.

This is made more difficult to follow by the shaky camera work throughout. To begin with, I assumed it was some kind of effect they were trying to achieve, a dark and gritty tale where not even the camera can stay still because it is so emotional and deep! This was not the case however, and boy did it get frustrating as you try to follow the action but have to keep focussing on trying to see the characters properly.

This film obviously didn’t have the budget of a big Hollywood blockbuster and I don’t want to hold that against it because The Wolves of Savin Hill tries very hard to draw you in with a complex story. But, as well as the camera work, the background noise sometimes drowns out the dialogue, leaving you to guess at what the characters are saying and there are many scenes where you would expect there to be people or ‘extras’ milling about but they are not. This leaves an awkwardly empty room which makes the action going on look rather foolish and strange.

So, I wanted to talk about story, the characters and the plot of The Wolves of Savin Hill because I am all for this type of story, but I’m afraid the issues which I mentioned above just make the film almost impossible to watch. It is sad really, because you can tell that a lot of work was put into this film, but sadly it wasn’t enough in the right places.

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