Joshua Nelson’s horror/thriller Aware of the Wolf takes the self-help industry in an all-new and horrific direction. The mysterious Terry is a life coach and motivational speaker who can unlock the inner wolf of his meek and introverted clients. His techniques are controversial, to say the least, as he has them ponder the truths of Dawinism and “Survival of the Fittest” while howling like wolves to build confidence. Do I smell the scent of a werewolf movie?
Meanwhile, there is a killer on the loose…or should I say killers? Bodies ripped to shreds show up on the city streets and the nearby forest. Detective Wagner and Sanchez are on the case, but the horrific and brutal nature of the murders makes it challenging to investigate the case, let alone identify the deceased.
Terry’s clients include a pregnant teen whose stepmother scolds her like a two-dollar w***e. There’s a wife whose husband takes advantage of her good nature and cheats on her any chance he gets. Another has a boss who exploits him, and one young woman has a roommate who belittles her appearance constantly while obsessing over her perfect image.
“Terry teaches his clients to find the courage and words to stand up to their bullies…all to disastrous results.”
Aware of the Wolf falls right into that DIY cult horror film genre. The budget for this production is meager. Writer/director Joshua Nelson overcomes some of his budget issues by seamlessly using stock video footage for scene transitions. However, he runs into color grading and video clarity consistency issues.
What director Nelson does right is create a few memorable moments to help make this story stand out. First is the abusive interplay between the pregnant teen and her stepmother—the writing and dialogue are incredible and incredibly mean. Also, there are discarded body parts discovered during the police investigations. It’s more than just dismembered limbs as Nelson takes things a step further than most. My only complaint is that there needs to be more. It’s definitely worth the investment.
Story is also a big highlight. I like the cult-like nature of the overall story and how its heroes are transfixed to this self-help guru. But is he legit? In the end, the bullies get what’s coming to them.
I’ve stated this before, but where the film suffers is its lack of budget. Though the film can’t rival the big-budget Hollywood horror, Aware of the Wolf is right on par with his current no-budget contemporaries in acting, cinematography, and production values. If you can get past the budget, you’ll have a howling good time.
"…right on par with his current no-budget contemporaries..."