October 8, 2018 Weed Wolf (Movie Review)
Initially released back in 2011 and directed by Calvin Hall (Bloody Scum 2015), Weedwolf, aka Weed Wolf, more recently found its way to DVD on September 25, 2018 thanks to via Wild Eye Raw and Extreme. A Horror Comedy, it follows E. Lee Smith (Exhumation 2013, Bloody Scum 2015) and A.J. Germaine ( Alabama Sasquatch 2012, Bloody Scum 2015) as the residents of a small Texan town who find themselves threatened by a mysterious werewolf that likes to eat stoners. Compelled yet? Read on.
Weed Wolf is not a serious movie made by serious people – and in this context, ‘serious’ is not meant to denote that this movie is not a moving character-focused drama. There are plenty of films that are Comedies that still take the idea of being a complete film seriously – although the subject matter of a Comedy does not need to be serious, the actual value of the production very much typically is. Weed Wolf does not fit comfortably into this paradigm, which makes it an inherently difficult film to judge; in many ways, it is actually a very interesting movie, despite all its transparent flaws.
If there is one thing to immediately address, it is that Weed Wolf is constantly playing into the idea that it’s a parody. The line between sincere and parody can be a thin one to walk, and there is an entire sub-genre of Horror films that try to do just that, but Weed Wolf almost immediately declares its intention to be an out-and-out parody in its opening scene. This is not an example of a film that is just turning up all its eccentricities to 11 – it is actively trying to lampoon Horror films.
Although, that does not mean it can still be low quality fare. There is a line between “making fun of poor films” and just “being a poor film,” and often Weed Wolf just falls into the latter camp. If it had been dialed back a bit so that it was clear it was an intentional stylistic choice, the poor production values could work in a meta-textual way, but it simply does not work like that here. The video quality is too poor, the audio is too mangled, the editing is too choppy – it is all too much in a way that screams that the aforementioned issues are not actually intentional at all.
That having been said, if you stick with Weed Wolf, there are charms to be had. The film does take a meta side road not too far in, and it makes the film much more interesting. The narration manages to link Weed Wolf with the counter-culture of the ’60s, thematically tying the film in with a certain trippy, hallucinogenic aesthetic that makes sense here. In a lot of ways, watching Weed Wolf can feel a bit like a drug-induced fever dream: fourth walls are broken, it makes so little sense the tone can be slightly unnerving, characters fade in and out of relevance, etc. In this way, Weed Wolf is actually interesting in the way it completely deconstructs cinematic form and turns into something purely experiential.
There is something interesting in that – just letting a film like Weed Wolf wash over you devoid of all formal trappings. Stanley Kubrick used to say that he structured his film experimentally rather than formatively. He did not care about structure and rising action so much as just getting his audience to feel something, and arranged his films as a collection of sequences designed to provoke specific feelings.
When Weed Wolf gets trippy, it is at its most interesting, and becomes something of a glorious mess. Unfortunately, these moments are not consistent, and while they are the most interesting part of the film, for the most part, the film is simply an exercise in poor cinematography overlaid on an incoherent plot with an uncertain tone. It is also unfortunately too long, and poorly paced, but those seem like secondary issues to the more fundamental ones.
At the end of the day, there is something genuinely interesting in Weed Wolf and the way it finds strength in veering away from typical cinematic form. That is not enough to make up for its other shortcomings. That is why CrypticRock gives it 2 out of 5 stars.