Stars:Erin R. Ryan, Marylee Osborne, Jack Norman
1 HOUR 20 MINUTES
REVIEWED BY JEREMIAH
Betsy is quite the bummer of a film. I mean, to start, it opens with the assault of its titular character, one which leaves her bruised, battered, and bleeding in the middle of a dimly lit street. Though things seemingly pick up for Betsy (played somberly by Kelci Magel), it isn’t long before problems begin to arise yet again, as a result of that fateful night, threatening to take away whatever peace she may have happened to find.
From a thematic point of view, I love werewolf films like this. The intermingling of personal drama with otherworldly components makes for a relatable creature feature that—when done right—can better pull you into its world. The unwilling wolfman is a tragic figure, but the unwilling wolfman with rent problems is something that penetrates deeper, emotionally speaking. Here, Betsy is juggling inner demons, a shaky romantic relationship, past trauma, and small town living all the while trying her damnedest to work through a grueling healing process. It’s all enough to make a person howl at the moon.
Given this is a werewolf movie, that’s pretty much a given.
And it’s at this breaking point where the film (and Kelci Magel) really begins to strut its stuff, delivering moments filled with gruesome imagery and strong performances. This being an independent film on a tiny budget, I was happy to see it hit the peaks that it did. Sure, much of the acting can come across as awkward and stilted, and yes there are enough technical deficiencies to satisfy anyone looking to pick this apart, but ultimately Shawn Burkett does right by his film to ensure that Betsy’s most endearing qualities are kept front and center.
If you’re looking for a howl-filled horror film peppered with both heart and bite, and you’ve memorized the lines to American Werewolf in London, Ginger Snaps, and The Howling already, maybe give this one a shot.