Howling V: The Rebirth

1989

Action / Horror

1
IMDb Rating 4.5 10 1957

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

William Shockley as Richard Hamilton
Philip Davis as Count Istvan

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by spencergrande6 5 / 10

Initiate murder mystery slasher mode

Finally someone has the cajones to put werewolves in a castle and initiate murder mystery slasher mode. My god, how did it take till 1989 to kick this into gear? And what fun we have here!

At least in terms of a C-movie eclectic character cast and some cool castle cinematography. This is a murder mystery where you don't really care about the reveal, and you know it's a werewolf anyway so the why isn't important. It's also a slasher where there's not much bloodletting or fun. It lies somewhere flatly in-between these two genres that share so much in common and yet can't meet a happy middle ground.

Reviewed by b_kite 7 / 10

The Howling series takes on Agatha Christie.

A Count (Phil Davis) assembles a group of people from different walks of life to tour a Hungarian castle situated in Budapest which has been sealed off for 500 years, they bring with them a werewolf which slowly begins to cut their numbers down.

This one which was filmed in Budapest and directed by Neal Sundstrom, whose largest directing credit was that he co-directed 1988's Space Mutiny with Reb Brown. This one contains the same writing team as the boring fourth entry and its nice to see that they stepped it up by giving it a cool as hell castle in Europe with lots of snow going on, it takes on a Agatha Christie feel and ultimately is pretty much a variation of "Ten Little Indians", in parts you almost fill like your drawn into the castle at some points, so the plot is good and unique and fits well. As for the characters they are mostly a little flat but some are likable my three favorites were Ray Price played by co-writer, screenplay writer, and producer Clive Turner (whose name will return again in this franchise!), David Gillespie who was played by Ben Cole and Jonathan Lane who was played by Mark Sivertsen. One thing however I didn't like and I guess its all about the budget, which Wikipedia says was about $2 million, but, I don't think the film used much of the castle, characters stumble into the same places and venture into the same areas several times, but, still its nothing to rant about. The special effects are decent I think they used the wolf costume from the previous installment here and you really don't see any of it nor the werewolf itself, in one scene it looks to be a man in a waist high costume and its in the shadows so you don't see nothing, a better shot of the werewolf's face is later seen towards the end, but, still its not really shown at all, also take note that this is the only film in the entire series to not feature a werewolf transformation so that sucks, what also sucks is that in the very beginning of the film a group of Hungarian people living in the castle commit suicide, I want say why! but, the movie then tries to convince use towards the end SPOILERS! that the group are actually decedents of these people even tho most of them are American and one is Australian so that's kinda hard to believe. Also the film towards the third act kinda gives up who the werewolf is if you pay attention, and I was right!

The acting here is decent I got more out of the male characters then the female characters, but, other then the performance by Elizabeth She as Mary Lou Summers and I don't know if she was putting on the whole airhead girl character or if she was acting it out but either way it wasn't that good, everyone else is decent and does a OK job (Davis and Catlin being the two best here), the dialogue however gets pretty stupid in some scenes, but, isn't all bad. The only person here that really went on to do anything else was William Shockley who is mostly known for playing bartender Hank Lawson on "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" and he serves as the only really familiar face, and Victoria Catlin who also played on "Twin Peaks". As for violence and nudity, there's some bloody throat ripping's, but, thats about it, and as for nudity Mary Stavin shows off her breasts in one scene while Elizabeth She despite her acting shows off her beautiful rump and body in another scene. If it wasn't for these two things the film could have probably past for a PG-13 rating.

All in all I have to say "Howling V: The Rebirth" is the best of the sequels i have seen so far, its no masterpiece, it suffers from the usual problems here, bad acting, bad occasional dialogue, and also lacks a good soundtrack song like the previous three sequels had even tho the theme here is still good, but, to me it doesn't have to be great, it entertained me that's all that matters.

Reviewed by manisimmati 5 / 10

A Decent Werewolf Murder Mystery

Count Istvan invites twelve people to a spooky castle that was locked up for more than 500 years. In the evening a blizzard encases the dark ruins and traps the twelve visitors inside. Suddenly people disappear. A wild animal seems to walk abroad. Is it a werewolf like the legend suggests? Or is it just the count playing a sadistic game? A life-threatening cat-and-mouse game ensues.

The Howling franchise is a cinematic trainwreck of epic proportions. Parts II and III are crackbrained trash festivals, while Part IV is a dreary remake of Part I, which isn't that great to begin with. Within this landscape of dilettantism, "Howling V: The Rebirth" is a breath of fresh air. It's actually a quite decent flick, mixing slasher elements with a murder mystery plot. The script has some engaging twists and turns, although it ultimately is pretty predictable. The twelve characters aren't fleshed out enough. They're sketchy stereotypes at best. There's a smart-alec professor, a femme fatale, a goofy never-do-well, an aloof pretty boy and a painfully naive fool of woman. You'll have a hard time caring about even one of these characters, which hurts the suspense a lot.

There are some cool jump scares, but other than that, the horror elements are pretty tame. In fact, we barely see any werewolfs. Most of the action happens off screen. Director Neal Sundstrom emphasises mystery over gore, which is fine with me. (I'm not sure if I want to see any more Howling werewolfs, at this point.) The castle has an eerie look to it and the soundtrack is amazing. Whenever one of the visitors gets murdered, there's an epic music cue: a choir singing something like "Sanctus! Sanctuuus!" After the second time, I sang along cheerfully. Great stuff.

Phil Davis does a good job portraying the humorless Count Istvan. Otherwise, the acting is subpar at best. Elizabeth Shé as the starry-eyed Marylou is the queen of underacting: "No. This is not real. Please say it's not real. (Yawn.)"

"Howling V" is by far the best of the Howling sequels. (Hey, it only took them four tries.) But that's not saying much. Check it out if you want to watch a decent, yet clumsy werewolf murder mystery.

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