The Howling: Reborn (2011) Review

The Howling Reborn DVDby Jesse Miller,

The Howling: Reborn marks the eighth instalment in the series that all began with a little horror film, based on a novel by Gary Brandner and directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Hole), that showcased some fantastic make up work with some amusing tongue-in-cheek humour. Now, I’m no expert on the following entries into the franchise – I’ve only caught Howling III, and that just so happens to be one of the worst film’s I’ve ever seen - but a reboot of the series had me intrigued.

It had been a good while since I saw a terrific werewolf film – the last great one was 2002’s Dog Soldiers – so I decided to check this one out.

The end of high school is just around the corner and Will Kidman (Landon Liboiron) is still figuring out how to approach his long-time secret crush, bad girl Eliana (Lindsey Marie Shaw), before she disappears from his grasp forever. One particular afternoon, Eliana’s jock boyfriend catches Will looking at her and starts harassing him. Eliana intervenes and in the process invites Will to this rave before slinking off.

In hopes of finally making his move with Eliana, Will attends the rave. There he makes a horrific discovery about werewolves that will lead him on a coming of age journey like none you have ever seen before.

The Howling: Reborn claims to be based on Gary Brandner’s Return Of The Howling but bears little resemblance whatsoever to the plot of that novel or even the names of its characters. Instead, there are loose strands here from the novel – if you’re a newcomer to either Brandner’s work or the series, it won’t make much of a difference anyway, but if you’re a fan, you’ll recognize these little strands.

Yet, The Howling: Reborn hardly feels like a Howling film at all. It feels like a romance drama/coming-of-age story that just happens to feature werewolves, perhaps as a metaphor. The focus is heavily on this romantic drama between Will and Eliana, and while that’s great and all, it’s hard not to feel like this is all just appealing to the Twilight crowd.

While the film is slickly made, showcasing some stylish cinematography by Benoit Beaulieu, the script by Joe Nimziki and James Robert Johnston is a poorly written mash between a sloppy horror film and a generic teen romance. This would be an acceptable feature if the film managed to generate some chills out of the scenario – instead it left me frustrated. Such a large portion of the film is spent building the relationship between Will and Eliana that by the 45-minute mark, I was wondering if I was actually watching a horror film anymore.

When things heat up in the finale, it all gears up for an exciting smack down that, if written the right way, could’ve been quite a powerful and moving sequence. That all gets lost, of course, and what you’re left is quite a frustrating, poorly edited fight sequence that left me deeply unsatisfied. I was excited about finally getting to behold the awesome power of the werewolf design – and I can’t focus on a thing. When I finally saw the werewolves, the use of some poor CGI there was a little disappointing. But what little I saw of the werewolf design was pretty cool, if not a tad generic itself.

Given that the film focuses heavily on the two leads, I will give it to Landon Liboiron and Lindsey Shaw, the two make a cute couple and have good chemistry together, and they do manage to carry the film at least till I wanted to see where these two love birds end up - Though they sure can deliver a clunker of a cheesy line or two at times. I also particularly enjoyed the comic relief that is Will’s friend Sachin (Jesse Rath), who sprouts his geeky knowledge of werewolf films at one point and Ivana Milicevic’s performance is wonderfully over-the-top.

The Howling franchise is a series that was just howling (Yes, I had to do it) to be revived once more for the new world, and while the new world eagerly awaited such a revival, let alone a decent new werewolf film, The Howling: Reborn does almost everything wrong. The setting is wrong, the story is wrong and the lack of nasty transformation sequences and scares is just disturbing. What you’re left with is quite a disappointing reboot, albeit with some decent performances and some terrific technical work.
Let me know what you all think of it when The Howling: Reborn hits DVD and Blu-Ray on October 18th.


Submitted by kaligula (not verified) on Thu, 10/13/2011 - 01:56

kaligula's picture

That's too bad. Like you said, its been too long since a great werewolf film.

Submitted by danwolf02 (not verified) on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 00:05

danwolf02's picture

I actually liked it. I hate Twilight and love 80's horror films and The Howling Reborn I found very Entertaining. The leads were good and i didn't get bored once. The Romantic angle was believable (and if you look back a lot of werewolf movies have a romantic angle.) I will be adding it to my werewolf collection.

Please Share on Social Media:

Send your horror news scoop to press[at]

Top 50 Horror Movie Blog

Like us on Facebook:

Recent Horror Movie Reviews

Detention (2011) Review
We Are The Night Review
Hate Crime (2012) Review
Dead of Night Review
The Violent Kind Review
Piranha 3DD Review
Funeral Home Review
DeadHeads Review
Playback Review
House Of Flesh Mannequins Review
More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead Review
The Mutilator Review
The Psycho Legacy Review
Halloween II: 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Review
Full Tilt Boogie Review
Nightmare City Review
The Divide Review
Penumbra Review
Hellraiser Revelations Review
Entrance Review
Asylum Blackout Review
Mother's Day Review
Dead Pit Review
Them Review
Anguish Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Theatre of the Deranged Review
Grimm Season One Review
Kids Go to the Woods…Kids Get Dead Review
Trilogy of Blood Review
Kill Devil Hill Review
Intruder Review
Malevolence Review
A Horrible Way to Die Review
Halloween II (Rob Zombie) Review
Final Destination 5 Review
The Killing of Jacob Marr Review
Stake Land Review
The Reef Review
Cowboys and Zombies Review
Necromentia Review
The Ward Review
The Caller Review
Bereavement Review
Kidnapped Review
The Hills Run Red Review
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review
Home Sweet Home Review
Super Hybrid Review
Dead Hooker in A Trunk Review
30 Days of Night: Dark Days Review
Paranormal Activity 2 Review
Cannibal Holocaust Review
The Woman Review
Dylan Dog Review
Medium Raw Review
One Dark Night (1983) Review
Groupie Review
The Tingler Review
Dolls Review
Detention Review
Bitter Feast Review
Camp Hell Review
Scream of The Banshee Review
FEARnet's Twisted Comedy Review
Just Before Dawn Review
Carriers Review
Mangrove Slasher 2 Review
LEWIS Review
The Task Review
cathARTic Review
Matrimony Review
Fright Night II Review
Yakuza Weapon Review
Hobo With a Shotgun Review
Plague Town Review
The Defiled Review
Goblin Review
Primal Review
Heartless Review
Pieces Review
True Blood: Season 3 Review
Murder Party Review
Hell Night Review
Skin Eating Jungle Vampires Review
I Saw The Devil Review
Red Riding Hood Review
Drive Angry Review
Blood Night Review
Dismal Review
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Review
The Faceless Review
Fertile Ground Review
Slaughterhouse Review
Amityville 4 Review
Aftermath Review
Savage Review
Ninjas vs Vampires Review
Swamp Shark Review
The Loved Ones Review
Black and Orange Review - Novel
Terror Vision Review
Vanishing on 7th Street: Movie Review
JAWS Review
Future Kill Review
Bad Elements: Crystal Dragon Review - Novel
Daughter of Horror Review
Death of The Dead Review
The Possession of David O Reilly Review
SCREAM 4 Review
Track of The Moon Beast (1976) Review
Hyenas Review
Mongolian Death Worm Review
Black Death Review
World War Z (audio book) Review
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Review
The Absent Review
Alien vs Ninja Review
Missing Linx (Comic) Review
Thankskilling Review
Death Spa (1988) Review
Insidious Review
Basket Case (1982) Review
The Walking Dead: Season 1 Review
PROWL Review
April Fools Day (1986) Review
In The Mouth of Madness Review
Machete Review
White Dog (1982) Review
SAW: 3D (The Final Chapter) Review
A Serbian Film Review
[REC] Review
The Devil's Rejects Review
SAW Review
Burial Ground (1981) Review
Hollowed Ground Review
Roid Rage Review
Psych:9 Review
Let Me In Review
My Soul To Take Review
The New York Ripper Review
Burnt Offerings (1976) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (1978) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (2010) Review
Wicked, Wicked (1973) Review
Maniac (1980) Review
Deadline (1981) Review
Death Bell Review
The Rite Review
HUSK Review
Cemetery Man Review
Seconds Apart Review
Buried Review
The Uninvited (1944) Review
Direct Your Own Damn Movie Review
City of the Living Dead (1980)Review
The Forest (1982) Review
JIGOKU (1960) Review
Let The Right One In Review
Lost Boys: The Thirst Review
Near Dark (1987) Review
The Human Centipede Review
Thirst (2009) Review
Night School (1981) Review
Night of The Demons (Remake) Review
The Splat Pack Review
The Maid Review
Hatchet II Review
The Last Exorcism Review
Victim Review
Shadowland Review
Bloody New Year Review
Black Christmas (1974) Review
Splice Review
The Art of Hammer Review (Book)
Doghouse Review
The Blair Witch Project Review
Horror Movie Freak Review (Book)
Lake Placid 3 Review
Paranormal Activity Review
Sella Turcica Review
The House of The Devil Review
UNDEAD Review (Novel)
The Woman In Black Review
Ghost Story Review
Eraserhead Review
Day of The Dead Review
The Woman Review
Night Of The Living Dead Review
Terror at Red Wolf Inn Review
The Theatre Bizarre Review
The Mortician Movie Review
Happy Birthday To Me Review
Mountaintop Motel Massacre Film Review
Frankenhooker Blu-Ray Review
The Necro Files Review
Donner Pass Review
Shark Night Review
Night Feeders Review
New Year's Evil Review
Never Sleep Again Review
Creature Review
Haunting at The Beacon Review
Zombie Review
Chromeskull Laid to Rest 2 Review
Devil's Rock Review
Fright Night (Remake) Review
Area 51 Review
Five Senses (comic) Review
Antropophagus Review
Lightning Bug Review
Never Feed the Troll Review
Alone in The Dark Review
Dead Alive Review
Zeke Review
Laid to Rest Review
The Beyond Review
Monsterwolf Review
Splinter Review
Mirrors 2 Review
Mail Order Review
Snowtown Review
The Dead Review
The Shrine Review
Run Bitch Run Review
Mutilation Mile Review
The Howling Reborn Review
The Human Centipede 2 Review
The Walking Dead Review
The Echo Review
Dream House Review
Yellow Brick Road Review
Baby Blood Review
Halloween 3 Review
Feast Review
The Child's Eye Review
Scourge Review
Martyrs Review
Mothman Review
Wrong Turn 4 Review
The Keep Review
Red State Review
Paranormal Activity 3 Review
Deviling Review
Slugs Review
Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Review
Night of The Hunter Review
Pick Me Up Review
Hillside Cannibals Review
Friday the 13th (1980) Review
The Green Monster Review
The Thing (2011) Review
Night of The Vampire Review
Killer Review
Alyce Review
The Fog Review
Of Unknown Origin Review
The Revenant Review
Exit 33 Review
Rage of the Yeti Review
Let's Scare Jessica to Death Review
Territories Review
Blood Freak Review
Solstice Review
Blood Roses Review
The Haunting Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review Review
Rare Exports Review
Ashes Review
Perfect Witness Review
Santa's Slay Review
Little Deaths Review
Lips of Blood Review
Bill Oberst Jr.
Silent Night Deadly Night 5 Review
Don't Let Him Review
Hell Driver Review