Ginger Nuts of Horror
This Night the Blood Will Flow
Blood Moon is a werewolf horror movie by writer, Alan Wightman, and director, Tom Wooding. Both have extensive experience in TV productions but this is their first feature length foray into the horror genre. Nearly the entire cast have extensive acting experience and it certainly makes a difference in the quality of performances. The main character, Calhoun, played by Shaun Dooley, has appeared in The Woman in Black, The Awakening and Eden Lake as well as the TV series Broadchurch. The Bank Robber, Hank Norton, was Agent Clay in Hellboy.
The movie takes place in Colorado, year 1887, primarily in the nearly deserted town of Pine Flats, manned by a single gentleman, Charlie, who maintains an inn and horses for stage coach drivers travelling through. The movie set up is as follows. First, we are introduced to the main character Calhoun and establishes his need for transportation then it shifts to Pine Flats where Charlie bites it when a large creature attacks. In nearby Lassiter the Norton Brothers, Hank and Jeb, rob a bank and ride off towards Pine Flats. The Sheriff, Jake, enlists a female Navajo tracker and guide to help him find the Norton Brothers. She warns of the pending Blood Moon and tells him of visions that she believes means a skin walker (Navajo legend of a werewolf-like creature that only emerges during the Blood Moon) will attack soon. Calhoun sees a stage coach approaching and manages to get a ride along with a few other people onboard: a priest, a marshal with his new bride, a beautiful lady who runs a saloon and a young British boy who is a journalist and writing about the Wild West. They stop in Pine Flats to switch out horses and stay overnight but find Charlie’s dead body. The Norton brothers show up and everything gets complicated for our gaggle of travelers, especially when the skin walker shows up and the dying starts.
I must say, from the trailer I expected pretty much a B movie at best, but I was pleasantly surprised. Though the writing in some places could have been better and avoided some western clichés, in my opinion, a lot of the dialogue is fairly good and even quite funny. Such as Hank Norton’s line: “Jesus Christ Jeb! Pull the trigger. Shoot somebody.” Most of the characters are written and performed with a sense of authenticity as well as sufficient emotional intensity where appropriate. I particularly liked the Navajo guide, Black Deer, the single lady saloon owner, Marie, and the stage coach driver,Yancy. Calhoun is a well done gunslinger except for a few places where they wrote his lines a bit corny. The marshal’s wife, Sarah, also surprises later in the movie with some great lines as well. They had Hank Norton overdo the gravelly voice in a lot of places but his brother Jeb’s performance was spot on in creating a heartless and depraved bank robbing villain.
The werewolf / skin walker is actually decent looking. The practical FX for the body are ok and does the job but the head and face, when shown straight on, is quite striking and vicious looking. From the side it looks like they lifted the lips a bit too high, exposing too much gum line, if you pause it, but overall, the resulting look is genuinely bestial.
By the end, I was quite entertained with this movie and invested in the fate of each of the characters. It didn’t really create fear and dread, but it was an enjoyable display of interaction amongst all the various roles and a fun contest between man and beast. And because of that I could ignore the one story element that was poorly handled and never tied up to my satisfaction.
Bottom line, if this movie is considered a B movie it’s a B+ in my book.
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