Archive for Werewolf

Damnationland 2016: White Drift Review

Posted in Bonfire Films, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Bonfire Films, led by husband and wife team Corey and Haley Norman have established themselves as quality horror filmmakers in recent years. Known for ghostly feature The Hanover House, 80’s inspired, urban legend Tickle and more recently for adapting Stephen King’s short story Suffer The Little Children to the screen, the award-winning Maine based duo offer up a different kind of beast for this year’s Damnationland Festival with White Drift.


White Drift centres on Peter (Sean Carmichael) an ex-army recruit passing through a small town in Maine to seek out an old friend and fellow soldier. The locals immediately notice something isn’t quite right with the ambiguous drifter as he experiences strange withdrawal symptoms. Intrigued by the mysterious Peter is waitress Abby (Kristi Ray- Pieces of Talent) who offers him her kindness and appears genuinely concerned. Unbeknown to her Peter harbours a dark secret and faces a moral dilemma that inevitably will result in devastating consequences.


There’s always a fascinating aspect to the werewolf as a monster in the moral sense and the concept is executed well in this short. With heightened sound effects, Norman establishes a sense of what Peter is experiencing and how the physical changes are affecting him. It’s a real build up of slow burning tension before the wolf is unleashed on the audience, allowing a sense of gut-wrenching dread.

A melancholic tone is presented throughout, aided by grey visuals within the cinematography. It’s certainly a brave move portraying the werewolf concept as a metaphor for PTSD after army life especially as it’s such a raw subject that holds such relevance in our society. However, the subject matter does work creating a powerful and dramatic narrative.

Both Sean Carmichael and Kristi Ray are impressive in their roles. We’re only experiencing their story for a short time but they manage to draw us in with their naturalistic performances. Carmichael portrays Peter as troubled, confused and frightened as he searches for the only person in the world who can help him. Kristi Ray plays Abby as sympathetic and genuine but also curious as to what’s wrong with the mysterious stranger.

Funds for the special effects were achieved through Bonfire Films IndieGoGo Campaign which allowed the team to animate a ferocious looking werewolf for the pinnacle moment in the movie. The appearance of the Wolf brings in an 80’s B-Movie vibe to it and is more impressive that some werewolf guises that have been created on a bigger budget. White Drift is an example of a crowd-funding movie that is of a high standard and exceptional quality.


Bonfire Films Writer and Director Haley and Corey Norman.

White Drift will be screening at Damnationland 2016 this October. Damnationland takes place annually in Portland, Maine and supports local filmmakers in the Horror and Thriller genres. Check out their website for more information and all that cool stuff!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.


The Short Films of DreamSeekers Productions: The Beast (2012)

Posted in The Short Films of Dream Seekers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

In 2012 Dream Seekers Productions created The Beast, a short that brings in aspects of the classic monster movie with added depth. The werewolf element is in place as a metaphor to demonstrate a father’s internal struggle as his teenage son is cursed with the mark of the beast! The only similarities The Beast shares with Dream Seeker’s most recent short Little Reaper (2013) is the theme of parental conflict as they come to terms with their children’s transition from childhood to adulthood, focusing on those awkward in-between years. However, this is where the similarities end as The Beast couldn’t be further from Little Reaper in terms of tone. Taking a more serious edge, The Beast captures the heightened emotion of a father facing the struggle between protecting his son and doing what’s right for the rest of humanity. Rather than taking the comedic route, the film incorporates strong, dramatic performances that sets the film apart from others of a similar vein.


Rising cult star, Bill Oberst Jr. plays the principal role of the father Michel, he brings in an emotive and heart-wrenching performance, mainly through expression as he displays his character’s plight. The close-up shots are used to convey this well while heightening the intensity of the situation. We learn that Michel’s son Jacob (Alexander Le Bas) has in fact killed, which is cleverly used as a metaphor that says despite what mistakes children make, to their parents they’ll always be their children no matter what. Alexander Le Bas plays the two sides to Jacob exceptionally well, there is a sense of conflict in place and the impression that he is able to pull on his father’s heartstrings in order to gain what he wants. Knowing Michel feels a sense of responsibility and guilt, he encourages him to untie him as the full moon is about to kick in so he can “relieve himself”. His manipulative nature demonstrates how the monster has taken over. The voice of reason comes in the form of Douglas (Peter Le Bas) who insists Michel does the right thing for his son, adding in the pressure in what’s already an intense situation.


With a minimal setting of the woods, The Beast uses this to its advantage to create high tension throughout its thirteen minute run-time. It’s setting along with the beautifully-composed music also provides a fairy-tale quality to it. There is convincing and well-developed characters in there that have the potential to be explored further. With expectations of a possible transformation scene, the short interestingly diverts from doing so, ensuring the werewolf element isn’t the main focus over the emotions of the characters. Instead, sound is used to bring in a sense of dread as the wolf’s blood-curdling howl is heard. Other than the strength of the sound, the cinematography is absolutely flawless and breathtaking with shots of the full moon acting as a warning for what’s to come. With a story that could go either way, the ending proves satisfying. Despite the unoriginality of the story itself the film manages to establish the idea of a changing relationship between parent and child and how they come to terms with it, accompanied with dramatic and thrilling horror.


According to IMDB, Peter Dukes is set to direct a feature with the same title for 2014, with the premise of “A young woman and some friends go on a road trip through the California backwoods in search of her missing brother and are kidnapped in a village that keeps a monster hidden away.” Scream Queen Jessica Cameron is billed as the top role which makes this film a must-see. Peter confirmed that it is in fact not a continuation to his 2012 short and the werewolf theme and title is purely coincidental. However there is already proof that Dukes has the potential to create one hell of a werewolf flick!

Watch The Beast Here:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Rip Your Heart Out: A UK Review: Supernatural #8.4 “Bitten”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews
  • Directed By Thomas J. Wright
  • Written By Robbie Thompson
  • Original Air date 24th October 2012

season 8

This review is dedicated to fellow writer/reviewer and Supernatural fan Jorge Solis (@JSolis82).

Supernatural has made a demonic return to our UK TV screens, broadcasting in double bill formats on Sky channel Living every Wednesday from 10pm. Thus far, Season Eight kicked off with Dean (Jensen Ackles) (minus Castiel (Misha Collins)) escaping from purgatory following a deal with a vampire named Benny (Ty Olsson), whom he resurrects. Once reunited with Sam, who this time has decided to get on with his life instead of hunting for Dean’s whereabouts, they go on a quest to find Kevin (Osric Chau), a prophet who has been chosen to translate a tablet deemed The Word of God. The tablet is said to contain spells that can ultimately unleash every demon imaginable on this earth through opening the Gates of Hell which Crowley (Mark A. Shepperd) has sinisterly discovered. It also has the reverse effect and could potentially close them, which provides us with the Winchester’s main quest for this season. The brother’s relationship is once again strained full of angst and conflict, Sam has had a mysterious relationship with a vet named Amelia during Dean’s absence, which he addresses to Dean and the viewers that it has ended, so far under unknown circumstances. The youngest Winchester now has a taste for a normal life and toys with the idea of giving up hunting for good. But, can Dean survive going solo? This is the aspect I’m mainly looking forward to the writer’s developing as the eighth season unfolds because the dynamic between Sam and Dean is the heart of the show. The season’s plot focusing on closing the gates of hell is sure to be a captivating watch and could prove the Winchester’s most difficult task yet. 


The long-running horror series is famed for its stand-alone, monster-of-the-week episodes. Following a two-part introduction to the main focus of the season in We need to talk about Kevin (#8.1) and “What’s up, Tiger Mommy?” (#8.2), the subsequent episodes return to this well-known, established formula. Episode Four titled Bitten which is the subject of this review came as a surprisingly experimental and gripping stand-alone addition to the Supernatural-verse. Taking characteristics from the found-footage sub-genre, it almost felt like a horror short from an anthology such as V/H/S rather than an installment of Supernatural. This type of episode has refreshed the show to a degree and demonstrates that straying from the expected structure can work successfully. Bitten is an example of how television these days is becoming more cinematic through expanding on trends within the horror film genre, bringing in recognizable traits and styles for fans. The show has previously attempted a type of found-footage format with Ghostfacers (#3.13) which satirized ghost-hunting style shows e.g. Most Haunted balancing humor and all out creepiness really well. Werewolf mythology has always been a frequently re-visited fixture within the show (as has its close relatives Shape-Shifters) particularly the episodes Heart (#2.17) and All Dogs go to Heaven (#6.8), Bitten crosses over previously seen narrative styles that Supernatural has depicted over the past eight years.


Rather than focusing the episode on Sam and Dean investigating a horrific incident, normally linked to the occult, Bitten has them in the background, making short appearances throughout. The Winchesters are firmly placed in the eyes of the viewers as they watch a video taken from the perspective of film students Brian (Leigh Parker) and Michael (Brandon Jones) after entering a blood-soaked crime scene. There are themes present which emphasize the rise of technology in the modern world as Brian and Michael mess around with their cameras, searching for a subject to create a movie on. It demonstrates that so many people in today’s society have easy access to the world of film-making with found-footage particularly being a popular trend, suggesting that anyone who can pick up a camera can think they’re a filmmaker.  The same sequence discussed also introduces Kate (Brit Sheridan) who becomes Michael’s girlfriend. Strong character development is then defined between the trio, setting up the later conflict that will be seen within the episode. Considering these young actors have to hold their own in this episode away from Sam and Dean, they do a tremendous job and play well-rounded, engaging characters.


Brian displays jealousy towards his best friend’s new found relationship and hints that he is also in love with Kate. When Michael is bitten by the lycanthrope, he becomes stronger and even more appealing in Kate’s eyes which causes Brian to fixate on wanting to be just like him even more. The episode takes a dark turn as expected, heightening the blurry lines between human and monster in the werewolf mythos and how the individual doesn’t have the choice, bringing in a heart-breaking effect similarly to Sam’s decision to murder his werewolf lover in Heart.


Milo Green’s What’s The Matter has a strong presence throughout adding to the devastation as it echoes back to the happier times when the trio first met. It was refreshing to see the perspective of the victims and how they view Sam and Dean.  As they eavesdrop on their investigation they refer to them as just a couple of  unconvincing FBI agents with nods to The X Files (which comes at no surprise as director Thomas J. Wright worked on the show). They misinterpret the brother’s relationship as romantic, echoing back to the earlier seasons, adding humor within a dark, twisted storyline without going over the top with meta referencing i.e. Wincest.

Bitten is a beautiful, thought-provoking episode with an engrossing storyline. Its left open-ended, therefore I’m hoping it will at least be followed up or referred to later on. Bitten experiments with Supernatural’s format, yet returns to what the earlier seasons conveyed. I can definitely place this episode as one of my favorites and it goes to show why Supernatural is still one of the most popular genre shows on television today.

Hayley Alice Roberts.