JOE DANTE‘s THE HOWLING is one of the best werewolf movies ever made but the litter of disconnected sequels running around with its name on their collar are mostly runts. The possible lone exception is THE HOWLING 5: THE REBIRTH which has recently shown up on Netflix Streaming. I wouldn’t blame anyone for not wanting to jump into the fifth installment of a notoriously lackluster series but this flick can stand alone and might be better thought of as a loose remake of THE BEAST MUST DIE!. The pacing can be sluggish and the acting can be woeful but you may find yourself happily looking past any and all faults in order to hang out in such a fantastic setting. THE HOWLING 5 takes place in a desolate castle in Budapest, full of secret passages and candle lit halls and best of all there is a impenetrable blizzard raging outside!
The set-up is akin to a classic whodunit mystery with a group of strangers receiving invitations to show up for an event only to be isolated and killed off one by one, in this case by a guest who happens to have fangs. Why, there’s even a shady butler and creepy maid on board to fill out the suspect/victim list! On Netflix the movie is presented full screen and looks every inch a VHS rental or late night cable watch circa 1989. I should warn you in advance that there are no gooey transformation scenes and that our werewolf is only shown in the briefest of flashes. I know that’s sad but it ultimately adds to the effect that you are watching something classier than you are. If it’s any consolation, THE HOWLING 5 does sport a mean decapitation, it’s not bloody but it’s well staged and fiendishly cruel enough to get a thumbs up from me. Approach this one with an open mind, I have a feeling as soon as your ears catch the gloomy goth late-eighties score you’ll want to save this puppy from the pound.