Remaking a classic horror film is nothing new and has brought such classics as John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly, but while those films were remakes of true classics of the genre the one we are looking at today is, at best, an in-name-only remake of the 1973 film The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, a movie which I seriously doubt anyone in Nickelodeon’s target demographic had even heard of.
The plot of this film centers around 17-year-old nerdy Jordan Sands (Victoria Justice) who can’t get a date to the prom because she wears glasses and has a ponytail, which is a standard trope and still incredibly stupid, and she is constantly annoyed by her 14-year-old brother Hunter (Chase Ellison) who is continually pulling off goofy and gory pranks at home and at school, then we have their recently widowed father (Matt Winston) who is struggling to make ends meet and thus he has no time for dating or wondering why his son is such a twit. So what we have here is your basic family drama and not a particularly good one, but then there is a ray of hope in the form of their mother’s great uncle Dragomir Vukovic who has died and left them his castle in Wolfsberg, Romania, and before you can say “Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” our trio is flying across the Atlantic to claim their prize.
Note: This family is broke and is about to lose their own house so even though the dad plans to sell this castle as soon as possible, what would the estate tax be on something like this?
Upon arriving, Hunter learns about the “Wolfsberg Beast” a monster that is rumoured to be the protector of both the castle and the town, while Jordon falls in love with the local butcher, Goran (Steven Grayham) because we have to have some teen romance, and even the dad seems to be getting some action as bubbly real estate agent Paulina von Eckberg (Brooke D’Orsay) may be interested in other things than just selling their castle. Things really get interesting when, while looking for the castle’s internet router, Jordan and Hunter stumble across a secret laboratory, and while messing around she steps on a broken vial of blood that just so happens to be lycanthrope blood. The next day Jordan is suddenly no longer a vegetarian and is relishing the fact that she now has heightened senses and incredible physical attributes – I’m not sure what part of the wolf gives you gymnastic skills but she becomes a wiz at the parallel bars – and this really makes Hunter concerned, especially with his friends point out that the only solution to this particular problem is to shoot her with a silver bullet. This is clearly not an option “I can’t shoot my sister. Do you know how much trouble I’d get in?” Lucky for Hunter and Jordan the castle’s creepy housekeeper, Madame Varcolac (Brooke Shields), knows a thing or two about werewolves.
We learn from Madame Varcolac that the late Dragomir was also a werewolf and was actually the famed “Wolfsberg Beast” and this “curse” has allowed the Vukovic line of werewolves to keep the world safe from the rise of vampires all these years. Then in a twist that will shock no one, it is revealed that Paulina is actually a vampire and she is leading a coven of vampires in a bid to take over Vukovic Manor – why this is important for vampire dominance I have no idea – but she must kill Jordan first, as she is unable to take the castle as long as any Dragomir’s werewolf relatives are alive. Basically, take all that werewolf/vampire lore from the Underworld movies and strip it down to “vampires hate werewolves” and you get the jest of this movie’s plot. The climax has Jordan and Hunter, who are now both werewolves because it turns out that Hunter is a werewolf himself, and the two siblings fight the Vampires until daybreak which leads to the evil bloodsuckers being killed by the sunlight. To say the final battle was a little underwhelming would be a vast understatement as both werewolves and vampires come across as really bad fighters.
• This movie trots out the classic cliché of the nerdy girl in glasses and a ponytail who the guys ignore despite her being incredibly attractive, this one really needs to be given a rest no one is buying it.
• This movie also gives us the standard nerdy boy who is interested in monsters and gore, a trope that has been seen in such films as Salem’s Lot and The Deadly Spawn.
• Whenever someone says Madame Varcolac’s name we hear a wolf howl in the distance, an obvious nod to Frau Blücher the housekeeper from Young Frankenstein.
• While exploring Dragomir’s lab, which is of course located behind a bookcase, Jordan and Hunter hide when Madame Varcolac enters, but why hide, doesn’t this place belong to them now?
• When Jordon arrives on her date dressed to the nines and looking gorgeous, Goran’s first reaction is puzzlement and concern, asking her “Are you alright?” This has me wondering, don’t girls in Romania dress up for a date or does Goran just have a “nerd girl” fetish?
• Jordan tells Hunter that she ate a wild boar when she was in werewolf form, but do werewolves have some kind of super metabolism because boars weigh up to 190 pounds and she doesn’t seem to be showing that extra weight in the morning? Werewolves are typically depicted as mindless animals, yet Hunter believes his sister won’t try and eat him, which shows he has a surprisingly strong belief in familial ties, that or he suffers from an extreme case of denial and stupidity.
• Hunter becomes a werewolf simply by turning 14, unlike Jordan who needed to be infected, and this is due to the fact that Hunter is part of the bloodline which makes him a true descendant, unlike Jordan. But wait a minute, aren’t Jordan and Hunter siblings, don’t they share the same bloodline?
• Paulina makes a silver bullet to kill Jordan but when Hunter transforms into a werewolf she just runs away, did she forget she was holding a gun that could kill a werewolf?
Despite being called The Boy Who Cried Werewolf we don’t get Hunter running around claiming there is a werewolf in their midst, in fact, he not only keeps his sister’s affliction on the “down-low” but he also tries to help her find a cure, which is kind of sweet and it does take the werewolf genre in a new and interesting direction, also, by having the central character be the one who is turning into a werewolf, unlike the 1973 version, which had the dad turning into a murderous beast, in this film, the lycanthropes are of a more heroic nature, which is a nice twist on the genre. The special effects to create the werewolves are fairly good, especially considering this is a Nickelodeon made-for-television movie and not something intended for theatrical release, and with the likes of make-effects wizards like Greg Nicotero bringing the werewolves to life, you know the end product will at least be decent. And while this film is not on par with something like The Howling it is a solid effort for what is basically a “family-friendly” horror movie.
Overall, this is an entertaining horror/comedy that can be enjoyed by the whole family and while the story doesn’t tread any new ground there are some great visual effects to be had and the cast all give solid performances, with Brooke Shields stealing every scene as the creepy housekeeper, making this a fun film for the younger crowd and while still being good enough to amuse even the parents.
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (2010)
Movie Rank - 6.5/10
Nickelodeon’s The Boy Who Cried Werewolf is a cute horror comedy and not really a remake but simply guilty of borrowing a catching title and while this film may not be all that scary, for anyone over the ages of three, the performance by Brooke Shields alone I recommend checking this one out.