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‘American Werewolves’ review: A rare misstep from Small Town Monsters

A surprising change.

American Werewolves does not waste any time letting audiences know what they will be in for. The latest release from Seth Breedlove and Small Town Monsters delves into the phenomenon of American dogmen. In other words, the team is taking on one of the most popular monsters in horror yet simultaneously ignored cryptids: werewolves. The one big difference between this and other STM releases is the focus on eye witness accounts. Does this move away from research help or hinder the documentary?

There are plenty of shows that hunt for creatures out of folklore and UFOs. Some of them have the pretense of being a scientific study, but they all rely on sensationalism and supposed sightings. Breedlove has managed to differentiate himself by not only claiming to take a more scientific stance, but actually following through. They all have their fantastic moments and wild stories, but there is a sense of legitimacy to them all.

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By doing away with this more grounded style American Werewolves does go with the more accepted formula; but it also loses the appeal that separates STM from all the other works about cryptids out there. And the film does not rely on mainly on eyewitness accounts, it uses them almost exclusively. There is no little evidence – not even newspaper accounts – to validate the claims. This means the audience has to take everyone at their word. A tall task when one story includes an encounter with werewolves and Bigfoot.

The film would have been better served if done in the style of The Mark of the Bell Witch. The movie was done by the same team and also covered one of the lesser known stories of American folklore. It has more of a horror movie film than a documentary. There are many moments when American Werewolves has that same feel. The stories are genuinely chilling and the direction creates a chilling atmosphere. There is no doubting the entertainment value, but it does not have the same pull of other Breedlove movies.

American Werewolves comes to VOD July 5


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