The Film (3/5)
As far as monsters in the movies go, I have always tagged the werewolf as the proverbial underdog. Werewolf films are not made with the frequency that vampire and zombie films are, so when they do come out they are more easily compared to their hairy cinematic brethren. 1996's Eric Red directed Bad Moon (aka Tom Cody is a Werewolf) is a film I had seen on video store shelves for years, but ignored. Something about the film, just like Howling: New Moon Rising, which came out around the same time never really interested me. However, the cover image stayed in my head, almost as a reminder of a film unseen and un-rented. Now, those 80's and 90's genre excavators at Scream Factory have issued Bad Moon on Blu-ray, and I feel it is time to check in with the film at long last.
The film stars Michael Pare as Ted Harrison a man on an expedition in Nepal with his girlfriend Marjorie. The pair are attacked by a werewolf, Ted survives, but Marjorie is not so lucky. Ted makes his way back to the Pacific Northwest and to his only known family, his sister Janet (Mariel Hemingway), her son Brett (Mason Gamble), and their dog Thor. He sets up his Airstream trailer in the family's backyard, but it is soon revealed that Uncle Ted is a werewolf. The only one who knows is Thor, and Thor begins to lash out at Ted trying to protect the family. At the same time Ted in his lycanthrope form begins to attack locals. These attacks get blamed on the very large Thor. Thor gets taken away by animal control, which leaves the family vulnerable to Ted's out of control werewolf form.
Eric Red is a solid writer and director having created some very awesome film's in the 80's and 90's such as the action vehicle Cohen and Tate (Directed by) and The Hitcher (Written by). However, Bad Moon as a werewolf film just feels like it doesn't have much of a reason to exist. I will admit it has a few interesting things going for it, using Thor, the dog as a main character, and frequently showing the viewer its perspective was quite an interesting choice for the film. The transformation sequences and werewolf FX by Steve Johnson (Night of the Demons) and his team were quite solid, and the fact that they chose to make the film more of an internal family affair was an interesting choice, but overall the film feels average and falls flat.
The performances from the normally good Michael Pare and Mariel Hemingway feel lifeless in this film, as if they are just playing it from the script. I will say that Red's direction does keep things well paced throughout its short running time. He also makes decent use of his suburban Pacific Northwest locales including lakes and forest to give it a touch of regional identity.
Scream Factory brings Bad Moon to Blu-ray in a very solid 2:40:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the film's OAR. The Blu-ray looks quite solid with excellent color reproduction, accurate flesh tones, deep blacks, and very nice detail throughout.
There are 2 audio options a DTS-HD 5.1 track and a 2.0 stereo track also DTS-HD. Both tracks are quite solid, but I stuck with the 5.1 primarily for my viewing which had excellent separation of sound. The dialogue was clear, and score came through nicely.
The main advertised feature on this disc is a director's cut by Eric Red. I'll cut to the chase. It's not so much a DC in the traditional sense. Red just cuts out some really embarrassing early CG in a transformation sequence, which doesn't really affect things too much. We also get a commentary from Eric Red on the DC. There are multiple interviews with cast and crew on the disc , a trailer, and storyboards.
Bad Moon is a pretty average entry into the werewolf genre, but it has some interesting choices that make it worth a watch. The Blu-ray from Scream Factory looks and sounds quite nice, and it includes a solid slate of extra features RECOMMENDED.