Werewolf on a Train

Everybody likes blank on a blank. Sure, movie marketing rarely actually refers to a film that way (Snakes on a Plane is the obvious outlier), but a lot of them are pitched in that manner. Maybe the first instance of a film being called blank on a blank that I can recall is Speed 2, of which people literally said “it’s like Speed but on a ship”.  You know that there are meeting in Hollywood where some screenwriter starts out by saying “it’s like Parasite but on a cruise ship” or “it’s like Marriage Story but on the moon”.

So why nit werewolves on  a train? I can see no reason that we shouldn’t have werewolves on a train and thanks to Howl now we do.

The plot of Howl is pretty basic and by the numbers: A commuter train outside of London breaks down in a forest.  We meet a disparate group of strangers. We get a few character beats. Then the werewolves attack.  The engineer is spirited away and eaten. A passenger is bitten, but survives. We already know that she will turn into a werewolf, it’s only a question of how long it will take.  The passengers turn on each other, and as always the real danger may come from the other humans.  It’s exactly what we expect.

The acting is fine all around. The cast is led by Ed Speelers (Downton Abbey) as Joe, a ticket taker who wants to move up. Speelers is good here. The character doesn't have a ton of depth, but really not that much is required for this material.

Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon) fills a smallish, but pivotal role.  He brings weight and gravitas to a part that could well have been filled by a cardboard cutout.

Holly Weston plays the love interest. It's kind of a shame that isn't better used here.  Here character could have been better developed, rather than merely existing as someone for the hero to impress.

The writing, though just the standard tropes and beats, is pretty sharp. The film tries for some humor, and some of it lands.  There’s no major flaw to be seen; Howl delivers exactly what it advertises. 

There werewolf effects are solid. Nothing groundbreaking is happening here, but nothing terribly disappointing either.

All in all, Howl is a pretty solid werewolf outing.