May 9, 2019 High Moon (Movie Review)
Looking for a different kind of film to watch? Look no further then High Moon, a story where the old west meets modern day with a good dose of werewolves. Written and directed by Josh Ridgway (Superman Returns 2006, The Sector 2016), the film originally titled Howlers will hit Digital and VOD on Tuesday, May 14th through Distribution Solutions / Alliance Entertainment and Archstone Distribution… so are you ready for a wild ride?
It all starts when a strange and powerful storm runs rampant through a small southern town, awakening Colt (Chad Michael Collins: Sniper: Reloaded 2011, Extinct 2017), an old west gunslinging werewolf slayer. Surrounded by the present day newness, Colt soon discovers that the pack of werewolves he thought he had sent to hell have also awoken. The bloodthirsty werewolves are led by the infamous Willie Price (Tom Zembrod: Knucklebones 2016, Just Believe 2016), with the only intention of death and destruction of the human world.
Armed with the training form an ancient Chinese Ming dynasty warlord, Colt is the only one who can stop their rampage. He enlists the help of the beautiful and headstrong Lucy (Chelsea Edmundson: Daylight’s End 2016, Thunder Road 2018) to maneuver this new time period and attempt to save them all.
Other townspeople are not as willing to believe the horrors they are up against; like the deeply troubled Sheriff Ethan Hardy (Matthew Tompkins: Killing Down 2006, The Harrowing 2017) or the corrupt town Mayor, Bob Barlow (Sean Patrick Flanery: Boondock Saints 1999, The Bay 2018). A mix of characters, everyone must work together to stop the werewolves from taking over the town and ultimately the world. Will Colt be able to convince anyone of the importance of his mission, or will they all be doomed to become food or howlers themselves?
Overall, it is the commitment from the cast in their respective roles which really what makes High Moon successful. Yes, it is a totally absurd plot that on paper, but every actor plays their roles so seriously that it only added to the campiness and appeal. Collins’s Colt could be straight out of a Clint Eastwood western chasing after bank robbers instead of supernatural beings. In fact, never once does he break character and is believable as a man who did not come from this time. This is while Tompkin plays the skeptic Sheriff Hardy so well, that even in the face of irrefutable proof of werewolves, he cannot wrap his head around it, and only sees lawlessness, not bloody terror. That in mind, Collins and Tompkins are perfect foils for each other even though they are essentially cut from the same cloth, just from different eras and experiences.
Beyond the strong acting, the effects in High Moon are not the most advanced, but it works within the film. The blood, and there is a lot of it, is just too red, but it aids to the campy nature of the film. Then there is the makeup of the werewolves which is off putting at first; their eyes glow, faces are shiny with sharp yellowed teeth and claws. At first looking a bit odd, the longer you looks at the makeup, it is soon becomes evident how intricate and fantastic it actually is. Remember, these are not the typical werewolves walking on four legs and howling at the moon. Instead they are humanoid like beings who happen to have a blood thirst and supernatural powers to change people to their species.
Blending genres can often result in a muddled confusing film that leaves the viewer wishing for less. That said, with a fusion of Action, Horror, Western, and nostalgic 1980s Camp, High Moon is a genre-bending film of the highest order. Highly amusingly, with appeal for a broad audience, Cryptic Rock gives High Moon 4.5 out of 5 stars.