Howl had all the right ingredients, a train cutting through a dark and rain swept night, a monster lurking in the woods and a group of unsuspecting travelers. So why is this film so ordinary?
Howl fails for so many reasons but chief amongst these, for me, is a throughly unlikable cast of characters. The trains occupants are a cynical, selfish, rude, nasty bunch. As a result, its hard to empathize with the plight of the travelers, which in turn robs this film of any sense of tension and suspense, as you quickly stop caring what happens to them.
In most other respects, Howl is clichéd fare but, to a degree, that's forgivable. Pretty much any horror scenario you care to name has, to one degree or other, been done before. Howl is no exception. Howls sets are good, the mood reminiscent of an older generation of horror films, and the monster effects convincing. The acting is reasonable too, its a shame so little care went into the overall characterization.
I rate Howl a five out of ten. Its not dreadful but its hardly a masterpiece either.
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