The Beast of Bray Road DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by The Asylum
Written and directed by Leigh Scott
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 85 minutes, Rated R
DVD released 1st September 2005
Jeff Denton as Phil
Tom Downey as Quinn
Sarah Lieving as Kelly
Joel Hebner as The Creature
Tom Nagel as Billy
There are people dying in Walworth County, WI.
Well maybe dying isn't really the right word. Dying implies natural causes. There is nothing natural about these deaths—unless you consider getting eviscerated natural.
Coincidently, werewolf sightings are being reported left and right to the new sheriff, Phil (Jeff Denton – Frankenstein: Reborn), who simply refuses to believe a mythical beast is the cause of these deaths.
Eventually, Phil comes around, and with the help of a crypto-zoologist, Quinn (Tom Downey – Frankenstein: Reborn, Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter's Cove), and some of the local yokels, he puts together a small arsenal and goes hunting.
But he could never prepare himself for what he finds.
Werewolf movies are few and far between. And, to make it more difficult for new ones, the ones that have come before them have set a high bar. Ginger Snaps, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling and Dog Soldiers are solid, solid films in the lycanthrope genre.
Granted, there are some clunkers out there, such as Wolf, An American Werewolf in Paris (which I personally liked) and, to some degree, Underworld. But that's expected, as with any genre—no one can bat a thousand.
What's particularly interesting about the werewolf genre is that it is usually not a theme tackled by low/no-budget filmmakers. There's always the problem with the transformation—or the lack of funds and/or talent to pull it off.
The Beast of Bray Road did it smart. It didn't show the transformation. Instead, it showed a little of the monster, a little guts and a lot of blood. Around that, Road has a good story, a decent script and—what's come to be expected from The Asylum—a solid cast.
The Asylum is one big happy family. What I like about them is they only keep the good apples, while disregarding the riff-raff. And that's the case in Road.
There are a lot of familiar faces from previous Asylum films (most notably Frankenstein: Reborn) in Road, and Jeff Denton, Tom Downey and Sarah Lieving (H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, Frankenstein: Reborn) stand out above the rest.
Jeff Denton had a quite memorable bar scene in Frankenstein Reborn and I thought it was a hint of something more. In Road, Denton picks up the lead role with ease and does a great job with it. But he really shines when he and Downey share the screen. Downey is solid as usual and, as with Rhett Giles in Reborn, he and Denton steal the scenes they are in.
Also, Lieving is great as the Kelly, owner of the local tavern. Lieving radiates strength, and that is exactly what her character needs as a bar owner in a backwoods town. A good actor in her own right, Lieving also shines in her scenes with Denton. And this goes back to back to The Asylum being one big happy family. Its core actors are always solid, but when they get together, their synergy cannot be beat.
One last thing: kudos to The Asylum for having a decent-looking werewolf without the use of CGI or animatronics. They took it back old school and threw a man in a costume. And it looks good.
The Asylum has again produced a solid film with a solid cast, enjoyable story and, believe it or not, a pretty good twist at the end.
Video and Audio:
Road's anamorphic picture is soft at times, and does have some digital compression, but overall, it's a pleasure to watch.
The sides and rears are used very well in Road's 5.1 soundtrack. The bass thumps appropriately at the right places.
Included is a commentary that, like Frankenstein: Reborn’s, has everyone and their brother involved in it. But, unlike Reborn’s, there's not quite as much talking over one another. If you want to learn about the ins and outs of filmmaking, don't bother with it. But if you want to laugh your ass off at a cast and crew poking fun at each other and the movie, definitely tune in.
Also offered are a very enjoyable behind-the-scenes featurette (fluff free!) and just as enjoyable blooper reel.
Rounding out the disc are trailers for Frankenstein Reborn, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, Legion of the Dead and The Beast of Bray Road.
With werewolf films being few and far between, it's nice to see a low-budget company not being afraid to step up to the plate and take care of business.