DIRECTOR: Daniel Robbins
Jack, Turner, and Brandon decide to head to Jack's uncle's cabin for a mates weekend away in the countryside. When Jack wakes up after the first night naked, alone, and with no recollection of the night before. He straps a Go Pro to himself the next night. When it's splashed across the news that a local man is horribly murdered in the small town. Jack reviews the footage back the following day and discovers that he may be the murderer and a werewolf. The shocking discovery also reveals that his family has a history of lycanthropy.
I imagine Uncaged to be the werewolf film that either Kevin Smith or Eli Roth would have made back when they had a budget that suited Clerks or Cabin Fever. The film opens with what appears to be a small frat party. We have the beer pong, the sleazy guy hitting on two girls experimenting, the inappropriate boob touching and the nerdy guy doing a very poor hit on a bong. The movie's first act is ripe with dick and pussy jokes and when it's revealed that the three leads will be taking a road trip for a wild weekend in the country. I was worried the film would continue delivering that frat boy type of humour.
The movie quickly disposes of the immature bullshit after the first act. Once the film begins to reveal that our main character is a werewolf and the first victim is killed off. I started to gather hope that this might improve in quality. I was unhappy to discover that this would be extremely short-lived. The movie decides to go and take us down a completely different dark path and instead of giving us why or how our lead became a werewolf, how his parents came to turn or how the gene is passed on. We are thrown into one of the strangest subplots I've ever seen in a werewolf film.
Once it's revealed that the first victim was attached to the wife of a local small town gangster. The entire story turns to waste. The only thing that this reveal does is that it introduces us to our film's big bad. We no longer have to guess what the film will be about. The villain is immediately unlikable, and you know exactly where this story will end up navigating towards. Don't be shocked when there is no twist provided for the audience. We merely have a werewolf film that's filled with marital drama, and it's quite dull to witness.
From this point on, our gangster gets jealous and suspicious of his wife. He believes that she was on a date with the first victim as she was at the scene with him and he thinks that she is cheating on him. Well, he's correct. He's just an awful, controlling husband who shoots her dog because he doesn't want to walk the poor thing. This subplot of cheating and drama overshadows the rest of the film and takes control. It feels like the writers just decided to roll with this subplot and hope that the audience is either too stupid or will just forget about the parents being werewolves and why he has been gifted or cursed with the same fate.
The movie also decides to have one of our three main guys turn on the other two. So not only is the gangster out looking for blood. The best friend is also jealous that his best mate has been trying to hide the fact he's a werewolf for his mate's own safety. Instead, the character is slowly written to turn into the dumbest man on Earth. A man who sees a character change into a werewolf but takes the lock off his cage or doesn't shoot the beast before he turns. The film is littered with the worst type of characters, and it's just so hard to root for any person in this movie.
The acting is pretty atrocious in Uncaged. I'm not going to single any of the actors out and just state that pretty much all of them turn in pretty horrendous performances. I will also put their performances down to that of bad writing. It's hard to appreciate or like any of the performances when all the characters in a film are horrible people and have not a likeable quality about them. I think the one actor who comes out with any charisma is the sweet nerdy guy. He's irritating, but his character is by far the best of a bad bunch.
What Uncaged does do right is that it tries to add a little flare with all the comic-book inspired flourishes within the story. Bookending most of the scenes in the movie are these neat little comic strip type exposition scenes. Whenever the story takes a new turn, we get these bright sequences of comic-book action. I believe they are added to try and minimise the budget constraints on some of the backstory and more massive gore moments. These scenes provide Uncaged with a lot of colour to an otherwise bland looking film that's filled with a lot of greys, whites, and blacks.
Lastly, another part of where Uncaged really takes off is the final fifteen minutes. The movie is pretty light on gore and creature effects for the first hour and ten minutes. I think this comes back to this being an indie film. The budget probably didn't allow for a lot of the gory scenes. While the creature effects aren't significant and the gore is minimal. The last fifteen minutes really delivers on the bloodshed and violence. We suddenly have an all-out bloodbath on our hands, and it's one very positive and enjoyable way to end Uncaged.
DEATH TOLL: 8
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A few bloodless bites and attack scenes early on.
- A dog is shot dead off-screen.
- Someone's throat and chest are ripped open.
- Someone's throat is ripped out.
- A skull is torn in half.
- A head is crushed into a pulp with a shotgun handle.
I went into Uncaged with the hopes of a fun indie werewolf film. What I got was a film about cheating, marital drama, and a small town gangster chucked into the story of a college kid who is learning about his past and that his family holds a dark secret. The sudden change in direction with the small town gangster and his wife is what ends up killing the film for me. The choice to run with that plot and not really explain why or how his family became werewolves was a poor decision on the writers part. A pretty unsatisfying and underwhelming werewolf film.