Half Moon Movie Review
Written by TGM
DVD released by Breaking Glass Pictures
Written and directed by Jason Toler
2011, 80 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on March 1st, 2011
Tori Black as Rose
Marek Matousek as Jacob
Torey D. Sutton as Kevin
Nicki Hunter as Tammy
Half Moon is an uneven and at times tedious movie starring porno superstar Tori Black as a down and out prostitute who winds up entertaining an enigmatic individual who may or may not be a serial killing werewolf.
The biggest problem with Half Moon is that nothing happens for the first 95% of this movie. It is literally akin to tuning into the world's most mundane episode of Blind Date. You watch two people engage in idle chit-chat over dinner in a seedy hotel room for what seems like an eternity. There is talk about their childhood, prior relationships, Tom & Jerry cartoons, and an awful lot of nonsense about baseball player Pete Rose. Considering you're supposedly watching a werewolf movie starring one of the hottest porn stars on the planet, you will quickly find yourself looking at the time wishing someone would either fuck, or rip someone's head off in a lycanthropic rage. Preferably both...simultaneously. This is less a horror movie and more a made-for-Lifetime production about the evils of having just enough daddy issues to send one spiraling into a life of prostitution. The entire serial killer angle is woefully underdeveloped...is it Jacob? Is it someone else? Does it matter? Additionally, writer/director Jason Toler misses a tremendous opportunity to bring something unique to the werewolf genre. Half Moon would be a much better movie if it focused more on the relationship between Jacob and the alluded to mercenary doctor who somehow manages to keep his transformations at bay. That was the real story to tell here.
As with any no-budget affair, one always must brace themselves for some of the worst acting this side of a local used car commercial. With that said, the performances for the most part were surprisingly solid. I did find Tori Black to be a bit inconsistent however, shining during the more tender and subdued moments then morphing into a head-bobbing and neck-craning caricature when she needed to engage "sassy hooker mode". A word of advice Ms. Black, save that sort of over-the-top obnoxiousness for Rosie Perez, because you're actually much better than that.
The star of the show is without a doubt Marek Matousek playing the role of Jacob, the tormented (but boring) werewolf. Coming across as a poor man's Javier Bardem (and I mean that with utmost respect), Matousek makes the most of the trite dialogue (of which there is unfortunately plenty) and offers a performance with a level of charm and charisma potentially worthy of a production that has a chance of an actual theatrical release.
A few final words on Ms Black: She is very pretty...almost too pretty for porn. It makes you wonder if in some alternate universe where the dice might have rolled a bit differently, could have become a mainstream movie star the likes of Angelina Jolie. The camera loves her, and you simply cannot take your eyes off of her when she is on the screen (yes, even when fully clothed).
I won't harp too much on the goofy werewolf transition scene. It is what it is, and it only lasts seconds. The practical werewolf costume isn't too bad, with its creepy frozen grin of long sharp teeth, but there is a lack of articulation to the costume that screams "rented from iParty". There is also excessive use of a laughably awkward CGI skyline reminiscent of a cheesy piece of electric moving art found at your local Spencer's Gifts. Unless this film was shot in one day, or during Antarctica's six months of eternal daylight, the choice of going this route versus simply filming an actual skyline is a curious and distracting one.
Half Moon weighs in at just over 80 minutes, which would be fine if not for the uncomfortably long opening sequence full of moody music and artsy fartsy disjointed images that obviously exist primarily to beef the running time to reach that coveted 80 minute mark, as if a tight and solid movie checking in at 72 minutes is somehow worse than an artificially bloated one at 80.
As this was a screener, I'll refrain from commenting on any of the technical aspects of the production although I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few things. The movie was in 4:3, a ratio that should be reserved for reruns of The Golden Girls on the Oxygen channel. I immediately assumed there was something screwy with my home theater settings and tinkered with things for a good 5 minutes before acquiescing to the realization that this was not a problem on MY end. In this day and age there is absolutely no reason for any film to be shot this way. I paid good money for my widescreen TV dammit, let me use it to its fullest. Lets hope that the 4:3 ratio was simply a consequence of this being a screener and that the final product will be in widescreen.
The other technical issue is that there is a blatant spelling error in the end credits. I guess it wouldn't be so bad or so obvious if the mistake wasn't one of the first words to come up once the movie cuts to black. The word STARRING has two "R'''s. A minor issue to some I suppose, but something I find inexcusable and possibly indicative of a worrisome lack of detail.
Half Moon is a sluggish, dialogue heavy film that features decent performances, little horror, gore, or suspense, a predictable ending that ultimately feels rushed, and a squandered opportunity to focus on the more interesting plot points. Werewolf (and hardcore porn) lovers will undoubtedly be left disappointed.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.