A refreshing take on werewolves

by Randy Krinsky

Blood Moon is a fresh spin and on an old theme, werewolves. Using the Navajo legend of the skinwalker as a base, writer Alan Wightman weaves a pretty good tale set in the old West. Director Jeremy Wooding brings the story to life combining action, suspense, and horror with a Western style and setting, staying away from campiness or comical exaggeration.

The story is about an eclectic group of characters on a stagecoach who chance would have it are thrust together with a pair of ruthless outlaws and a dangerous legendary creature in an abandoned town. I’m not a Native American mythology expert, but according to the film, in Navajo lore, a skinwalker is a shapeshifter, a twisted witch or shaman who preys on others, taking the form of any animal they choose, though Blood Moon keeps it wolf-based. The characters do a pretty good job of explaining the mythos of the creature through the telling of tales and legends. This separates the film from your standard werewolf tales and offers a refreshing take well worth its 90-minute run time.

Blood Moon
Directed by
Jeremy Wooding
George Blagden, Shaun Dooley, Corey Johnson, Jack Fox, Anna Skellern, Eleanor Matsuura
Release Date
1 September 2015
Randy’s Grade: B+

The narrative is well-paced. Without giving any spoilers, the sequence of events that draws everyone together is believable and keeps the viewer interested. Needless to say, I enjoyed this film. The characters, while initially seeming to be quite cliché, evolve quickly and become interesting. Their relationships with each other and the chemistry of the group makes the viewer feel all the more tense once it becomes apparent that the skinwalker is coming for them; you become invested in their well-being. My favorite has to be the mysterious Calhoun, portrayed by veteran actor Shaun Dooley. He’s the first character we are introduced to and the film leaves his past shadowy. I find myself wanting to know more about him and his exploits. Once again, without venturing into spoiler territory, the film’s ending doesn’t necessary negate a possibility for a sequel; I can only hope that Calhoun once again finds himself needed in Blood Moon 2. I did find myself wanting a little more out of the ending, but I was nevertheless not disappointed with the conclusion; like I said, sequel?

The CGI is kept to a minimum with most of the creature effects being completed practically and pretty well-done. The blood and guts element is not gratuitous and during key scenes the camera never lingers, keeping a frantic pace that only heightens the thrill. Besides the cinematographer, I also applaud the production design team as the town streets are lined with believable saloons, hotels, stables and other western fare; definitely not indicative of a low-budget film. The interiors are well apportioned with suitable props and backgrounds, allowing Blood Moon to hold its own against any film with a western setting. The overall aesthetic of the film is excellent.

If you’re a fan of Westerns or creature features, you’ll definitely like this one. It is well-made and will not disappoint.