wolf mansion, 2022.
Directed by Dominic Brunt.
Starring James Fleet, Jay Taylor, Nicky Evans and Rupert Proctor.
Shooting a vampire movie in an old abandoned house should have worked like a dream. However, with the full moon, the nightmare begins. The body count rises as the cast and crew encounter the mansion’s resident werewolf.
Emmerdale horror filmmaker turned star Dominic Brunt (Bait, Attack of the Adult Babies) returns with its latest genre union: a lo-fi satire of low-budget horror cinema itself, though it lacks enough toothy comedy or horror.
wolf mansion revolves around the shooting of a low-budget vampire movie called Crimson Manor. The cast, crew and a select number of journalists arrive at a remote mansion in Shropshire, but with the full moon shining brightly, they are ready to become meals for a lycanthrope lurking in their midst and eager to turn their production into a horrifying reality.
Now, Brunt’s film isn’t shy about announcing its meager budget in its opening moments, the filmmaker apparently hoping that the sheer charm of the production, which sensibly doesn’t take itself remotely seriously, will carry it through. Still, ultimately, this feels like a half-formed, undercooked idea that might have been better served as a short-form project, so its on-and-off fun wouldn’t wear off as much.
That’s not to say that Brunt’s film is completely boring as a broad cinematic satire; “Trust me, I’m a producer,” Crimson Manor’s producer says early on, and most of the script enjoys poking fun at uppity valued actors and foppish journalists. That said, the gags are almost always low-hanging fruit, drawing on tired jokes within Hollywood baseball that we’ve seen and heard countless times before.
Screenwriters Joel Ferrari and Pete Wild, however, find intermittent gold with their periodic focus on how underappreciated “below the line” crew members are on movie sets. This is best embodied through the resourceful and courageous first assistant director Fiona (Thaila Zucchi), whose experience managing film productions makes her a born leader during the team’s fight for survival.
However, satire generally benefits from compelling characters to enhance its comedy, and wolf mansion It’s largely missing on this front outside of Fiona and James Fleet’s drunken, perverted, pretentious professional actor, hilariously named Oliver Lawrence.
As a horror film, there’s some gore that isn’t bad, though certainly not enough to keep the bloodhounds sated, and the reliance on digital red stuff is unfortunate. As for the wolf, industry veteran Shaune Harrison does a respectable job with the prosthetic effects. We don’t see much of the werewolf, usually hidden in low-light conditions, but given the production’s obviously limited resources, he gets the job done. Brunt certainly deserves credit for his astute use of directional lighting and fog when shooting exterior sequences, because as we all know, a backlit werewolf almost forever looks great, no matter what budget you’re working with.
At just 85 minutes, this could never be called long, especially since the credits actually hit the 70-minute mark, after which the picture’s runtime is rounded out by a post-credits sequence. feel bad about losing). However, even being so brief, this farce begins to feel more than welcome when the third act arrives and, again, one suspects that it could have worked better as a short or episode of… something.
wolf mansion it’s not going to upset anyone with its unassuming presence, but it lacks the conceptual smarts and charm to succeed as a lo-fi cinematic satire.
Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Shaun Munro – Follow Me On Twitter for more cinematic ramblings.