Plot: What’s it about?
Ted Harrison (Michael Pare) works as a photojournalist and seems much like anyone else, but when the moon rises he becomes a much different creature and that is what haunts him. Ted suffers from the curse of the werewolf and that means whenever night falls, he is no more and a violent beast takes his place. He struggles with this to be sure, but he is unsure of how he can end this madness and return to a normal life again. Thanks to his more brutal side, he has made sure no one else learns of his secret, but sooner or later someone is bound to discover the truth. As it turns out, that someone is Thor (Primo), his sister’s dog and though he might just be a dog, Thor has a serious problem with Ted. Soon, Ted is at the end of his rope and fears he will attack his own family before long, though Thor has no plans to allow that to happen. If his animalistic side is to triumph, that means taking down Thor and then going after his own family, which is not what Ted wants in the end. But which side of Ted will dominate his mind and body when the time comes and should his werewolf side emerge, can Thor save his masters?
I’ve seen Bad Moon on home video a few times and many other times on cable, but I never really understand why I keep watching it. Perhaps I just keeping thinking that it will be better this time, though it never is. I don’t think this is a very good movie overall, but the strong premise is present and some of the werewolf action is pretty cool, so I can usually drudge through the rest for the few bright spots. This film was based on a novel titled Thor, which was written by Wayne Smith and that book is unusual, but excellent. The books focuses on the basic storyline presented here, but the entire tale is told from the dog’s perspective. That gives it a certain charm and unique side, which this movie fails to capture in the least. But Bad Moon does have some nice special effects and a couple good performances, so all is not lost in the end. You don’t see too many werewolf movies these days and as such, Bad Moon wouldn’t be a bad choice if you need a quick fix, but don’t expect a horror classic.
The main focus of this movie should have been the family’s dog, but instead we get a decent smaller cast of actors in the spotlight. The dog’s role is about the same, but with the prominence and perspective from the book gone, it detracts from the overall impact. Of the cast, I think Mariel Hemingway turns in the best performance and even she seems a little out of place in this one. She has the looks to be in whatever she wants, but Hemingway has also honed her skills well and that shows in this movie. She is able to handle her character with no real problems, but she just seems too good for this material and that makes her look a little weak at times. She does give a valiant effort to redeem this screenplay, but she can only do so much in the end. Other films with Hemingway include The Sex Monster, Manhattan, Star 80, Creator, and The Contender. The cast also includes Mason Gamble (Rushmore, Dennis The Menace), Ken Pogue (The Dead Zone, The Neptune Factor), Michael Pare (The Philadelphia Experiment, The Virgin Suicides), and Primo, the gifted canine performer who plays Thor.
Video: How does it look?
Bad Moon is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a nice transfer, but is below the standards I hold for Warner Bros. releases. The image looks clean, but lacks the sharpness and attention to detail I expected. The colors look good, but a little washed out at times and flesh tones appear natural, which is good. The black levels look solid and though a little too light, never overexpose detail at all. There is a number of compression flaws though, from minor ones to very obvious instances and that is what makes me knock this one down a little. This is still an above average transfer, but I just expected it to be much better.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc sports a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and though not as dynamic as expected, this track still sounds terrific in the end. I was a little disappointed in the subtle aspects of this mix, though the surrounds do pick up when they need to. The attack sequences sound excellent and make good use of the speakers, which of course enhances the impact of the scenes. I also found that the music sounds very good, though not as immersive as I had expected. So other than those elements, there is little surround use to be heard and that makes me none too happy. But in the end, I suppose a natural sound is better than a potentially forced sound, so I won’t complain much. The dialogue is in fine form, with no volume or clarity issues in the least. This disc also contains subtitles in English & French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer, some talent files, and some bonus trailers for other Warner Bros./Morgan Creek titles.