This review was originally posted as part of my coverage of TIFF 2016
Two homeless lovers choose different paths for each other in Werewolf. Blaise (Andrew Gillis) and Nessa (Bhreagh MacNeil) are two homeless recovering drug addicts. In between trips to get their daily dose of methadone, the two lovers go door-to-door offering to mow lawns for cash. Nessa begins to take her road to recovery more seriously, seeking out employment and stable housing. However, Blaise goes down a different path, which brings him seriously close to relapse. Nessa must decide if remaining in this relationship is a healthy thing for her to do.
Werewolf is the debut feature film for up and coming filmmaker Ashley McKenzie. The film focuses on two homeless youths on the road to recovery from drug addiction. Both are two different people, with Blaise often being quite confrontational and Nessa being more soft-spoken and keeping to herself. Despite the fact that Blaise goes down an increasingly self-destructive path, Nessa remains tethered to him, which may endanger her own attempts at improving her quality of life.
Werewolf is shot in a very “up close and personal manner,” with the film featuring many extreme close-ups, whether it be Nessa in a hairnet or an Oreo cookie grinder. The film is a very low key two character drama, which focuses heavily on contrasting the two paths these two lovers choose. The film also reminds me of the similar-themed 2014 drama Heaven Knows What. It can be easy to assume that the title of Werewolf is more metaphorical than literal, with there likely being many possible interpretations. Overall, Werewolf is a very striking film and and a fine debut for director Ashley McKenzie.