Wer - 2013
Written by William Brent Bell & Matthew Peterman
Directed by William Brent Bell
Wer is a completely fresh and au courant take on the werewolf legend, updating the concept in the most significant way that I have seen in a generation. I don't expect it to redefine the sub-genre, but it certainly breathes fresh life into the idea.
Taking the case on behalf of the defendant is a French-American lawyer with the civil rights commission, Kate Moore. Kate very aggressively challenges the French police who are all too willing to treat their suspect as though he's already been convicted. He is, after all, a giant of a man, extraordinarily hairy, socially isolated, lives conveniently close to the crime and... Eastern European.
Someone's throat indeed; and once it does, the chase is on. Wer makes extraordinarily clever use of its lower-budget CGI effects. We don't get a transformation as complex as American Werewolf's or Professor Lupin's, but the subtler werewolf is befitting the film's more believable world's tone. There's one specific moment where the narrative turns for both the characters as well as the viewers, and the simple effect used there creates a jarring sense that we (and by "we" I particularly mean "they," the characters) are dealing with an entirely new situation that outstrips expectations.
Meanwhile, throughout the story, two subplots have been building that will develop into Wer's final confrontation and its final twist. The twist at the end isn't a jump-out-and-grab-you one, but it does change some of the film's meaning. It's a rare treat that a horror film's final twist is actually supported by the narrative and not merely tacked on for "gotcha" value, so the film scores a full point for that alone (were this a scoring game).
I almost didn't watch Wer, because the whole defense attorney angle didn't really sound that appealing to me, but I found it to be a tremendously refreshing take on the mythos, and I'm encouraged to know that the old dog can still hunt.