After nights of sleepwalking, a troubled teen straps a camera to himself and discovers a sinister truth.
Typically when I review a movie, big-budget or small, I always try to find some redeeming quality if the film fails to deliver. If there are no redeeming factors, then I have to critique the movie as is, and typically that ends up being a scathing review. However, the one thing I will always give the filmmakers, especially if it is a low or no budget production, is kudos for getting out and actually producing their film. I have been an indie filmmaker myself for over thirty years and I know how difficult it is to get one made so good or bad, plaudits are deserved.
The issue I have with “Uncaged,” is that it never once aspires to be anything but unoriginal. It borrows so many themes and elements from far-superior movies like “An American Werewolf in London” and “The Howling,” it forgets that it is trying to tell its own story and instead winds up as one big werewolf homage. I understand that the makers of “Uncaged” are low-budget but they must remember that once they put their movie out there for the world to see, it is literally going to be torn apart (no pun intended) by fans of the genre who will immediately know that they’ve taken ideas from other classic films and claimed them as their own. If you don’t have the budget to produce somewhat successful and authentic monster effects, and in this instance, they don’t, then don’t make the movie at all, it is that simple.
The story revolves around three friends, Jack (Ben Getz), Brandon (Zack Weiner), and Turner (Kyle Kirkpatrick), who decide to head out to Jack’s uncle’s cabin in the woods for a weekend of fun, knowing that his uncle will be away on business. Once there however, strange things begin happening to Jack and every morning he wakes up naked in some isolated location, unaware of how he got there (sound familiar?). Managing to make his way back to the cabin, his friends put it down to him experimenting with drugs but Jack suddenly remembers his mother telling him when he was a kid that once he turned 18, things would change.
Determined to find out what is happening to him, he straps a GoPro camera to his head that evening and the next day when he returns home, he is shocked to see footage of himself tearing people apart and killing them. He realizes that he is now a werewolf and that it must have been passed on to him down the generations but while he was away one of the evenings, Turner’s new girlfriend Crystal (Michelle Cameron), was ripped to pieces and it quickly becomes apparent that there is more than one werewolf amongst the friends.
The special effects look like leftovers from Michael J. Fox’s 1985 “Teen Wolf.” It’s quite obvious that the transformations were inspired by John Landis’ “An American Werewolf in London” but, as I stated earlier, because they didn’t have the necessary funds on hand to produce such effects, they come off as amateurish at best. The actors have some hair slapped on their faces, use yellow contact lenses to show that they are no longer human and stick fake, plastic teeth in their mouths to denote gnashing, monster fangs. While the film itself looks good and overall, has commendable production quality, the effects themselves look terrible and you find yourself feeling sorry for everyone involved. While even the story was imitative and conventional, with a larger budget, I think “Uncaged” could have been somewhat interesting. As it stands however, it’s an exercise in how not to make a good movie.
Available on DVD & Digital Video February 2nd
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