Review: Medium Raw (DVD)

2011/08/16 16:52:53 +00:00 | Steph Howard

Do you remember the first story that scared you? That story that still sends prickles down your back and creeps into your dreams at night. The one that makes you feel silly for being scared because you’re all grown up. Maybe it was about a witch that ate the children she lured with candy.

Or maybe it was it was the one about a wolf that ate the grandmothers of children that walked alone in the woods. Do you ever wonder how those stories came about, if they were based on a true story? What if big bad wolves were really inspired by people like your creepy neighbor?

Who doesn’t like a good fairy tale? They seem to be making a comeback; with this year’s Red Riding Hood, and 2012 hopefuls Snow White and the Huntsman and Tarsem Singh’s untitled Snow White movie, we shouldn’t be in short supply any time soon. We also can’t forget about TV; this fall ABC will introduce their “Once Upon a Time” series and NBC has “Grim,” which I’m really excited about. There are also countless other rumored works ranging from Amanda Seyfried as Cinderella, a Hansel and Gretel witch hunting adventure, and a new spin on the Little Mermaid. With all these reinterpretations of old classics, it’s easy to see that we crave new twists for our familiar characters. If that piques your interest, you’ll want to know more about Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf.

Anchor Bay’s Medium Raw investigates what life would be like if “the big bad wolf” was actually a human being, and in this case, a serial killer. “The Wolf” in this story killed little girls, and begs to be chased, writing a taunt in their blood. After he’s caught, he is given the chance to live at a mental institution rather than face the death penalty. Detective and former acquaintance of the killer, Johnny Morgan (Andrew Cymek the Dark Rising series), seeks revenge from the man behind the iron masked wolf. Little does he know that this vengeance will come at a cost. When Johnny goes to confront his foe, there is an electrical failure, and all of the inmates are freed from their rooms. What do you do when the Wolf's after you, and you have to deal with his strange playmates?

Cymek, along with playing the main character in the film, wrote and directed this unique take on “Little Red Riding Hood.” For a movie night with friends, Cymek’s film is entertaining and even funny in an over-acted way. I always enjoy watching Horror films that involve unruly sanatoriums, but I really wanted the backstory of the film. It would have been much more interesting to follow “the Wolf” on his killing spree and root for the detectives that catch him. Instead, the viewer gets a blurb at the beginning of the movie and a few flashbacks. There’s always room for a prequel these days, and in this case, I’m all for it.

The writing of the film was typical b-movie and the actors' delivery left something to be desired. The over emphasis on cloying lines got to be too distracting in certain points, it felt like the actors were anticipating a laugh track or a drum roll. If the humor of the film had been taken down a notch or two and a more realistic approach was taken to the material, I think the entire film would have been better. The acting compared to the technical aspects of the film is down right disappointing, with the surprising exception of WWE star Jason Reso (the Dark Rising series, Shoot ‘em Up). The effects in this movie are very nicely done; the Wolf’s suit is incredible. I would love to see it in person, as long as it was unoccupied.

The Medium Raw disc comes with extra special features; you get Cymek’s commentary, an alternate ending, deleted scenes and the trailer on top of the standard list of subtitles and selected scenes. I appreciate being able to watch deleted and extended scenes; it's like getting a sneak peak into the movie making process. Usually with these extras I like to see how the movie was better for what the editors cut out. This time, however, I felt that some of the extended scenes really needed to be left in the film.

Overall, I found Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf to be a fun way to pass the evening. If you want a deeper look into “Little Red Riding Hood,” or something that you can take more seriously, this isn’t for you. However, if I were having a slasher horror movie party with my friends, I would definitely add this film into the mix. If you’re in the mood for a cheesy but fun horror film, you should give Medium Raw a try.

Film Score: 1.5/5                DVD Score 3.5/5