02nd Jul2019

‘High Moon’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Chad Michael Collins, Chelsea Edmundson, Matthew Thompkins, Sean Patrick Flanery | Written and Directed by Josh Ridgway

high-moon-dvd

Colt (Chad Michael Collins)—a gunslinging werewolf slayer from the old west—mysteriously rises from the grave, only to find that the band of werewolves that brutally murdered his wife are still running rampant generations later. Aided by a beautiful widow (Chelsea Edmundson), a skeptical town sheriff (Matthew Thompkins) and a corrupt Mayor (Sean Patrick Flanery), Colt must face off with the bloodthirsty creatures once again to save a sleepy southern town from destruction.

Let’s face it, horror westerns are VERY difficult to get right. On one side there’s dross like Gallowalkers, then on the other there’s brilliant films like 2014′a Blood Moon. Though, honestly, the bad often outweighs the good in this particular genre, which is probably why High Moon decides to forgoe its Western origins and sets most of its film in the present. Which in itself is a risky move as not only do you have to deal with both the horror and western elements (for even set in present day this still features character tropes from old cowboy movies) but on top of that you have a fish-out-of-water story to deal with. Oh… and there’s werewolves in the mix too!

Thankfully writer/director Josh Ridgway doesn’t play any aspect of his film for laughs – which is a route he could easily have taken given how much of a blend of genres this film is. Playing up the comedic aspect of each genre would not necessarily have made for a bad film and might have been an easier film to write but sticking to a more serious tone, and only using the fish-out-of-water part of the story to alleviate the mood, means that High Moon reminded me very much of the 1987 TV movie Timestalkers, which used the same man out of time conceit to a similar great effect.

And whilst werewolves and the undead in general would usually denote sheer terror, here both are used as a plot device in a film that actually plays out in a more action-orientated fashion in much the same way that the Blade movies did; and High Moon is all the better for it. Especially when you consider that this film, at least according to the end screen of the film, this is the first in an apparent franchise – a franchise featuring an undead gunslinger hunting down his own undead kind, in this case the undead just happen to be ressurected werewolves. See, told you this was like Blade. Perhaps moving forward out hero Colt will take on other undead foes? Vampires, zombies, who knows where this story could go?

Writer/director Josh Ridgway seems to be creating a real mythos for this series, with a magical sceptre and mysterious ninja-like figure leading Colt from the shadows. Thankfully the mythos isn’t forced down the audiences throat in High Moon, instead – like all great origin tales – its sprinkled throughout the film with just enough information to keep you intrigued and scant enough information to keep you hooked till the next time to find out just what, if anything, is really going on.

Definitely not what I expected, infact honestly BETTER than I expected, High Moon is ultimately a fantastic action-horror that not only gives audiences a new hero in Chad Michael Collins’ gunslinger Colt, but a possible new genre franchise to look forward to in the future.

High Moon is out on DVD, in the US, from Archstone Distribution today, July 2nd.

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