The Howling - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Howling Reviews

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May 20, 2018
Like any 1980s horror film, "The Howling" offers great practical effects, but they are wasted on a story that is so cheesy and cliché that you often laugh at the poor decisions that these filmmakers made during the filmmaking process. Not only that, but some of the actors' performances are so unrealistic and over-the-top that you can't take the storyline seriously. Yes, I get it. It's a movie about werewolves. So? I should feel scared and thrilled when watching these characters being mauled by monsters, but what's the point of being scared when all the actors act like they were in a middle school play! Maybe it's just me. Maybe I just don't like the mentality behind the making of these "slasher/horror" films. Thank God we moved pass this stage in the filmmaking world.
½ May 6, 2018
2.5/5. The Howling is a very mixed bag. It's mostly just boring, but it doesn't have some amazing practical effects, I'l taking some of the coolest I've ever seen, plus some awesome cinematography, and a really excellent ending. I can't really recommend it as a movie, but on a technical level, it's pretty neat.
April 10, 2018
Joe Dante's true horror masterpiece.
April 8, 2018
1981 saw the release of what are still considered two of the best werewolf films of all time. And while most people I know prefer An American Werewolf in London, I've always had a much softer spot for Joe Dante's The Howling. Both films are filled with a surprising amount of humour, classic horror references and some truly remarkable and groundbreaking makeup effects. I find Dante's film to be far more atmospheric, with beautiful cinematography and lighting, accompanied by an effectively creepy score from Pino Donaggio. The cast is terrific (particularly Dee Wallace), the script is smart, film buffs will love the cameos, and although it's often quite campy the film still has a few great scares. The Howling has aged surprisingly well over the years and Rob Bottin's effects work remains some of the best in the genre. I doubt they'll ever make a better werewolf movie.
Super Reviewer
April 2, 2018
The makeup and visual effects are awesome, especially in a major shape-shifting transformation scene close to the end, while the climax is effectively tense to make the film worth it, but even so the script is rather weak, uneven and can be quite silly and laughable sometimes.
March 14, 2018
"Well for a starter they tried to make a cult horror classic", first of all you can tell the effort put into, the plot and idea, but it just didn't shine. But this movie can be quite entertaining and the special effects pretty good" 5.9/10.
January 5, 2018
The movie that made Werewolves into hulking bipedal creatures, the effects were extremely good for it's time and hold up surprisingly well.
½ October 19, 2017
It's okay. never could get into it.
October 15, 2017
One of the best werewolf transformation scenes in movies. That's the reason I gave this movie 5 stars. It's worth it just for that scary scene. But generally, this is a pretty good werewolf movie. It's also different, which isn't easy to do, considering how the genre has been done and re-done thru the ages. The acting is good, the script is good, the progression of the movie is good...for a werewolf movie. It held my interest from start to finish, with little down time. One of my favorite horror movies.
September 25, 2017
The special effects are the saving grace of The Howling. The acting is pretty bad and the story is mostly predictable. You can tell where they blew their budget, though, because the big transformation scene is more impressive than the climax of the movie. How did this campy horror flick spawn so many sequels?
½ September 5, 2017
By seeing a small clip of "The Howling", I had to see it. After watching the film, I can say it was a rather enjoyable horror film: the acting was quite believable (but had some limitations which made a few scenes awkward), Joe Dante's direction was great, the story was not bad, and the special effects were outstanding (which made for the creepy moments in the film). "The Howling" is a pretty good horror film that I'm sure horror fans will like.
June 29, 2017
The special effects are impressive, but it doesn't change the fact that most of the movie is dull, and not really intense.
February 25, 2017
The Howling is another example of excellent werewolf/horror movie. This film is probably in the top 3 best Werewolf movies of all time. Joe Dante crafts an excellent werewolf flick full of great acting, terrifying moments as well and solid characters and a rather fantastic story. The Howling follows Dee Wallace, an anchor woman as she helps a police operation in order to capture a serial killer (Eddie) but during the process ends up loosing her memory and begins going crazy because of it which she ends up going to a camp to get help with her amnesia but discovers the horrors that await her. This movie is full of suspense and tension as well as it has a fantastic werewolf story. The werewolves themselves are nothing short of phenomenal and are one of the best practical werewolves along with one of the greatest werewolf transformations in cinema. I can't get over how great this movie is. I highly recommend this film if your a fan of good horror or werewolf movies. 5/5
December 10, 2016
Well crafted werewolf movie with extremely realistic make-up techniques and special effects not inferior to An American Werewolf in London.
½ November 2, 2016
Begins as a story in the NYC red light district with an undercover news anchor meeting with a suspected killer in a seedy video parlor. Wait what movie is this? I thought this was a werewolf movie by the director of Gremlins, not Vice Squad part 2.
Later the movie gets more werewolfy but it's really the last 3rd where the werewolfness really takes off. Some very cool practical special effects. However the movie felt a little disjointed as a whole.
½ October 30, 2016
A very good werewolf movie that has some good moments.
Though it is a bit predictable the transformation sequences were excellent.
October 25, 2016
The special effects are impressive, but it doesn't change the fact that most of the movie is dull, and not really intense.
October 20, 2016
Joe Dante's 1981 film "The Howling" is a great little werewolf feature. It's taken me too many years to finally watch this one, but it is good entertainment. It is probably the lesser of the 1981 werewolf films, but Dante's movie is great and original in it's own way. Great effects, an original take for a werewolf film, and just good solid horror entertainment.
October 7, 2016
I wanted more from The Howling... and I wanted it at a more entertaining pace. I'm already hard on werewolf movies & Dee Wallace movies... but I love Joe Dante movies! The Howling, simply, bored me. Of course, some of the visuals are great '80s fun, but they certainly don't age well and I don't have the nostalgia for this film to make them enduring. "Conspiracy" type endings are quite lame as well.
September 16, 2016
This is a classic modern werewolf movie to me. It scared the crap out of me as a kid and a re-watch as an adult, while not as filled with frisson, was no disappointment at all. It's a nicely made film, with good shots and a slightly experimental blending of images for nightmarish, traumatic effect. The setup and pace and little mystery story to it are not super sophisticated or surprising, but effective nonetheless. The initial glimpses of the werewolves flashing forth from the shadows only to disappear again made me think they weren't going to hold up that well. But once you get a sustained view of one later in the film, it's actually quite solid and creepy creature effects. There's a really rad f/x part with a severed werewolf hand that bubbles, deflates, and reinflates as a severed human hand. Pretty nicely done. There's a transmogrification scene that doesn't hold up as well and that suffers from being too long - still, it's pretty good in it's way and it's hokey aspects are entertaining in their unintentionally funny quality. Interestingly, I remember this being a 'sexy' werewolf movie, and it still has that illicit quality in the central 'sex scene' between two people who become werewolves as they get it on in the woods. But what I hadn't remembered was the sexual trauma and menace that opens the film and surrounds that central sex scene. If anything, I was surprised to find that this film is something of a (probably mostly unintentional) commentary on modern porn-soaked rape culture and infidelity culture. Not pleasant viewing in that regard (with a disturbing recurring image of criminal activity), but also effective in creating malaise about our twisted post-sexual-revolution society - if, that is, anyone bothers to look past the more obviously exploitative aspects. A pretty great horror film in general and werewolf film in particular.
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