Bad Moon has sex and violence literally within the first five minutes. I have to say, that’s a great way to start a movie.
Unfortunately, it’s basically all downhill from there. I didn’t have any real expectations going into this. I had never heard of it before until a couple of weeks ago when looking up werewolf movies. Although there’s always the hope for a sleeper hit if you’ve never heard of a movie it’s for a good reason. After that start, I thought maybe I found gold after all. Yeah, fools gold.
Bad Moon has a few ideas that I think could have worked if the movie actually tried a bit. So much of it feels lazy. I don’t know if it was lazy writing or lazy directing, but either way details were missing, and moving the plot at times was simply left up to a scene ending and the next one starting.
The movie starts in a jungle with Ted. He is played by Michael Paré, who you might recognize from the Eddie and the Cruisers. He’s having sex with his girlfriend in a tent. She won’t live long enough for you to care what her name is. What else are they out in the jungle for? I don’t remember, it wasn’t important.
The deaths in Bad Moon are kind of brutal and bloody, so this opening was great. I can’t state that enough. However, then the action switches to a woman and her son who live in a pretty secluded area with a lot of woodland around them. From this point on the movie switches to be more of a family movie, but still with some horror. I can’t help feel like they wanted to catch the magic that is Silver Bullet.
Let me point out now, the werewolf in this looks really good. It’s big and scary looking and as werewolves go, it’s one of the better ones I’ve seen. I wish we could’ve seen more murders. That being said, all werewolf movies need to set aside a chunk of money for the one major transformation seen from human to wolf. Otherwise, you end up with horrible CGI work like in Bad Moon. Here turning into a wolf is mostly smearing an image in Photoshop. Don’t let this happen to your werewolf movie.
The practical effects in the movie are pretty well done, and some of that is in the major transformation scene. So I can’t hate on it too much. It just pulls you out of a movie when you see such poor CGI even for me, a CGI apologist.
The mother is Janet, played by Mariel Hemingway. We find out quickly that she’s a lawyer when some guy comes to the house seemingly to sell magazines or something. He triggers their dog Thor. The dog jumps on him.
She explains to her son Brett, Mason Gamble that the man is a “flopsy.” This means he does things like jump in front of cars to get hit or gets dogs to attack him in order to sue. Now, why do I bring up Flopsy? No, really. He’s credited with that name. I bring him up because later he shows back up for no reason at all just to be killed off. It’s some of the laziest character development I’ve seen.
We get another werewolf kill in the woods. Then Ted, who is Janet’s brother, calls her to say he’s back around. She takes her son and dog to go visit him. While there, the dog Thor stumbles across some ripped-up people. By now Thor seems to be the central character of the movie but is left strangely on the sidelines.
Later Ted calls Janet again to see if he can stay with her. It’s revealed then cops are all over where he lives packing up the dead bodies. We never see any interactions with Ted and the police. The next scene cuts to his camper in Janet’s backyard. I guess the cops were cool with him just up and leaving when they found dead people in the woods nearby to his trailer. Again, lazy writing or lazy directing?
From there the kills take a back seat, except for Flopsy. The movie tries to show that Ted knows what he is, but they keep everything secret and so we don’t know what’s going on. There’s a way to do this and a way not to do this. The way Bad Moon chooses is the way not to do this.
At some point, Janet sneaks into Ted’s camper and finds journals about what he’s doing. Apparently, he’s running a science test on himself with Thor’s DNA to find a cure for the werewolf disease. This all could have been interesting and would have made Thor more pronounced as a character for the movie to center around, but this scene is all we really get.
Finally out of nowhere Ted turns on Thor and gets him to attack him, so he can be taken away. He’s never really had an issue with the dog before. So why is he doing this now? It is not as if Thor will tell everyone his secret? It makes no sense in the context of the movie.
There’s a scene near the end that is so unintentionally hilarious that I laughed out loud. You have the son, Brett, sneak out to try and get Thor back. Uncle Ted sneaking out because he’s been chaining himself to a tree when he turns, and Janet sneaking out to follow her brother. They all sneak out on the same night. Lazy. Hilarious, but lazy.
Bad Moon has a great start to it. Everything you want in a horror movie is packed into the first few minutes. However, it then changes but not in a good way. The family aspect was boring and felt like a ripoff of better movies. The kills were cut down and the bloody gore was mostly taken away. Maybe if it had focused on Ted trying to cure himself more and not hide it, it would have made up for some of that. Also showing how he was involving Thor could have been the opportunity the movie misses to explain why Thor seems to be important.
Unfortunately, this movie just misses out on everything it tries to do.