Article first published as Movie Review: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf on Blogcritics.
Nickleodeon, fresh from the smash Fred: The Movie, scores again with The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, a light spin on the classic werewolf tale starring Victoria Justice and Chase Ellison. Like Fred, Boy might not be an instant Halloween classic; however, it provides some laughs, a couple of tense moments, and even enough references for the adults out there to merit a yearly viewing.
Justice stars as Jordan Sands, a shy, awkward teenager (naturally) who longs to be different, but not too different. Ellison plays her brother Hunter, your typical younger brother who is into all things horror. Their mother has recently passed away, and their father David is busy trying to make ends meet. One day after Hunter gets suspended for another horror-related prank, he finds an envelope on the Sands family doorstep left by a mysterious man. Jordan and David think it’s another prank, but after calling the number left on the envelope, it is actually a summons to visit the family castle in Romania, which has been left to them by a distant relative of their mother.
After being welcomed by the stern and eccentric Madame V (a hilarious Brooke Shields, channeling Cloris Leachman from Young Frankenstein), whose name makes the wolves howl, the family begins to explore the town and the castle. Hunter learns that a mythical beast is rumored to roam the land, but is expected to be seen at the local festival. Jordan meanwhile meets a boy who is charmed by her sweetness.
One night, the Internet goes out, and Hunter and Jordan find a secret room holding more than a few surprises. They leave, but not before Jordan steps on a test tube with wolf blood, and a transformation begins. A vegetarian, she now craves meat, becomes more confident, and changes her look. Hunter is confused, until his friends convince him that she is in fact a newly formed werewolf. Hunter now has to race until the end of the next full moon to fix this, or else Jordan will remain a werewolf forever.
The story might not be new to anyone that has ever seen a movie like this (think of it as an extremely toned down Underworld), but that doesn’t stop the film from being a total blast. The plot moves along rather quickly, and every serious moment is peppered with a spark of wit. The action scenes may seem tame to some, but they are well staged for a movie aimed at younger kids. In fact, they provided a few tense moments that actually had me at the edge of my seat.
Boy also benefits from two appealing leads, with Justice and Ellison playing a very convincing brother and sister. However, top prize goes to Brooke Shields, who walks away with some of the best moments in the film playing against her usual type.
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf may not be a masterpiece, but it is a cut above the usual teen fare, light and harmless, but with actual wit and some pretty good action. Plus, the end leaves open the possibility of a sequel, which might not be so unwelcome.