Stars: Landon Liboiron, Lindsey Shaw, Ivana Milicevic, Jesse Rath, Frank Schorpion, Mark Camacho | Written by Joe Nimziki, James Robert Johnston | Directed by Joe Nimziki
A reboot of the ‘80s horror franchise, The Howling Reborn stars Terra Nova’s Landon Liboiron as high school senior Will Kidman, whose infatuation with a beautiful classmate begins to trigger certain teenage animal instincts. But when a mysterious woman (Milicevic) with a shocking secret re-enters his life, Will learns that he is heir to a powerful line of werewolves. Now he finds he has a choice to make: succumbing to his primal nature or turning against his own. In order to fight the destiny of his legacy and save the girl of his dreams, he must battle not only his growing blood lust but an army of fearsome beasts hell-bent on killing us all.
Billed as an adaptation of The Howling creator Gary Branders original Howling II novel (which it clearly is not), The Howling Reborn is a teen-centric entry in the long running franchise that ignores most of what has come before to reboot the series for a new generation, taking in the same themes of puberty and change that have proliferated the vampire genre and applying them to werewolves.
Easily the best Howling movie to be released in decades, The Howling Reborn is, despite its shortcomings, a great little werewolf flick helped in part by a great cast most noticeably Lindsey Shaw as the heroes love interest, who puts in a great performance as high school vixen-turned-girlfriend-turned-heroine and Ivana Milicevic (who reminded me, a LOT, of Melissa Sagemiller) as his werewolf mother. Meanwhile Liboiron’s character, the troubled teen whose werewolf instincts are coming to the fore, is a little wet behind the ears, but then that could be because his role is 100% influenced by Tobey MacGuire in Spider-Man they both have the same whiny attitude
Speaking of influences, The Howling Reborn was obviously also heavily influenced by The Lost Boys, only this time they use werewolves instead of vampires, featuring as it does the same Alpha villain angle seen in that film. Hell it even steals the party scene-come-vampire-turning scene from The Lost Boys to ingratiate Will to the werewolves and his would be girlfriend!
Apparently shorn of 50% of its budget before filming commenced, The Howling Reborn is still a pretty decent werewolf flick that easily outshines the majority of the other movies in the Howling franchise and – thankfully – it uses practical effects in an era of crappy CGI-filled werewolf movies.