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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Snarling (2018)

A werewolf horror comedy made on a very small budget. I guess that could work so when I read the plot synopsis of the Snarling, I decided to give the movie a chance. I guess I’m okay with my decision. More on that later.

A low budget zombie movie is shooting near a small English town. The locals are excited about the extra business, but there are troubles. They talk about the death of a cameraman under mysterious circumstances and we get to see some hitchhikers dispatched… offscreen with none of the fun on the screen. I’ll have more to say about that later. Eventually we find our main characters, three guys from the pub, who get jobs as extras on the movie. One of them looks just like the star which leads to some funny gags. While this is happening there is a subplot involving the local police trying to solve the murders. This eventually leads to some werewolf shenanigans… that mostly happen off screen. Damn it!

I’m always on the lookout for another werewolf movie. Though most of the time I’m disappointed as it is way too easy to screw these up. You need to have a decent looking creature and kills for one of these flicks to work. Sadly, that isn’t at all what we get with The Snarling. We hardly get to see the creature and when we do it is obvious why. It is terrible looking. The thing looks like a Halloween costume that you would pick up from the shop at the last minute. Totally static with no articulation this is about as cheap as it comes. They even botch the transformation scene with having most of it happen offscreen. While I’m glad they didn’t try some cheap CGI, it was still very disappointing.

They do use some CGI for the kills, though just to splatter blood across the screen. If you have ever read any of my reviews, you know how much I hate that. When did it become cool to pretend that blood has hit the lens of the camera? We get a second here and there of the attacks before the camera cuts away. So there isn’t any gore to be had in this wild beast tearing people apart movie. The best we get are some plastic limbs being picked up after the attacks. Much like the werewolf these look like Halloween decorations that are sold every October.

This Werewolf has "Googly" eyes
So, I’ve told you all the things that The Snarling does wrong. What I didn’t expect was how well it handles the comedy. The writing is quite good and there are some really amusing lines and situations. I found myself laughing more than once at the hijinks that the guys get up to. Other than the main characters we also have some amusing stuff with the local police as they bumble their way thru the investigation. After a while some of the jokes did get repetitive, but I still appreciate the delivery and commitment to the humor. This is a genuinely funny movie, so it has that going for it.

Bottom line for me is that when you sell a flick as a horror comedy to the audience you have to deliver both. The Snarling nails the comedy parts and is one of the better efforts that I’ve seen from a lower budget movie when it comes to the gags. The flip side of that is the movie totally fails to bring any decent horror to the screen. The creature is bad and there is zero gore, even badly executed effects would have been something. So basically, we get half a good movie, which means they failed. I can’t recommend the Snarling, though I noticed they are making a sequel with the same characters only this time there are cultists. That might be easier to pull off so I will be giving that one a chance.

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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