Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Howl: The Return of the Little Indie Direct to Video Brit Flick

26th January, 2016.

OK, I think I’ve had a little success, today.


Remember I told you — a few days ago, now — I was trying to sell off my sister’s old laptop?

I managed to do so, today.

Picking up a tidy sum, in return.

My sister, Ruth, got her share: I got a fish supper and a movie.

Didn’t I just … ?

The film in question?   Was the straight to video 2015, Paul Hyett directed, Neil Marshall penned, Howl.

And ‘straight to video’ … ?   Isn’t necessarily bad.


Starting at Waterloo Station, Howl introduces us to Joe (Ed Speleer): a train guard just about to clock on to a late shift.

A late shift with unrequited love, Ellen (Holly Weston), the girl in charge of the tea trolley … 

On an overnight train that’s been delayed, and hits a forested wild part of Britain, at midnight, under a full moon, with a bunch of the snottiest passengers that one could hope to meet.

The fact the driver, Tony — Sean Pertwee, in one of his shortest appearances — ends up getting out of the train to see what it’s run over … ?

And … well … 

You can tell the journey’s facing issues, can’t you … ?

And not just a shortage of wet-wipes.


Now … 

You’re possibly wondering two things, aren’t you?   You’re wondering exactly what I meant by ‘straight to video’ not necessarily being bad?

And whether Howl was any good?

Yes: Howl’s a good film.

It’s not got the biggest budget, most of the cast are unknowns, and it’s only Paul Hyett’s third film as director: he’s previously done time as prosthetic effects designer and builder on various films.   Including some for Neil Marshall, co-writer and director of Dog Soldier.

For all that … ?

Cast, director and crew have knocked out a low budget film that is short, sweet, well paced, and very watchable.

Yes, it’s gone straight to video: which, only a few years ago, would have been the biggest insult in cinema.

But with this?

I think the idea pays off: it gives Hyett a chance to learn the job of director, cast and crew a chance to pay bills and be seen, and the writers a chance to test out ideas.

AND gives us a watchable film at a reasonable cost.


I think they’ve made a film that isn’t artistically meaningful, replete with answers for trying philosophical questions.


They HAVE made for an entertaining film: one that’s provided me with a good night’s viewing, and that will do the same for you.


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