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The Independent Critic

Tina Boivin, Claire "Fluff" Llewellyn, Christopher Kahler, Jason Wollwert, Anthony Zielinski, Raymond Benson, Wendy Pierson, Philip Ziecina, Andrew Baack, and Tim Pollard
James Baack
80 Mins.
Cheezy Flicks Entertainment

 "Werewolf Massacre at Hell's Gate" a Fun, Derivative Schlockfest 
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Pretty much all you need to know before sitting down with Werewolf Massacre at Hell's Gate is that the film, a relatively recent film from Great Lakes Artists Group, is being distributed by Cheezy Flicks, those delightfully low-budget purveyors of B-movies, bad movies and long forgotten movies that are worth keeping alive in the universe's cinematic psyche'. 

I have no idea whether or not Werewolf Massacre at Hell's Gate will ever truly be one of those beloved B-movies of yesterday, but for now one can suffice it to say that not only is the film a bad one - it's a fairly hilariously bad one that will pretty much have you mumbling "I could make a better film" throughout the film's 80-minute running time.

For the record, in their defense, MOST of you could not make a better film. It's harder than you think. 

The film centers around the premise that centuries ago a young girl in the doomed village of Skinner's Grove was accused of witchcraft and, as one might expect, before being burned at the stake she places a curse on the Grove and its inhabitants that will last through future generations. Future generations later, a paranormal investigator exploring the Grove for clues to an end-of-times prophecy stumbles across a nest of vicious werewolves - weave into this scenario an armed militia and an innocent couple whose car just happens to break down nearby and the stage is set for one serious werewolf massacre.

Having seen the film for myself, I'll confess that even writing that last paragraph caused me to start giggling, though I'll also confess that I'm laughing more AT the film than WITH the film. Werewolf Massacre at Hell's Gate is the kind of film you make in the backyard with your friends knowing damn well you don't really have the money to do it right. You give a damn, but you can't really afford to give a damn. You know?

Written and directed by James Baack, Werewolf Massacre at Hell's Gate is the kind of film that indie critics like myself struggle with - wanting to encourage local talent yet having an absolute obligation to write an honest review. The truth is that this is a bad film, though I suppose it is bad in a Cheezy Flicks sort of way. This means that some will find it fun to watch in a guilty pleasure, late night B-movie sort of way with its overwrought dialogue, across the board cheesy acting, sub-par production quality and, overall, it's just the kind of film where you don't look at any aspect of it and think "I see potential there." 

You just don't.

The good news is that the folks involved with the Great Lakes Artists Group are, in fact, committed to what they do. It's a low-budget outfit with at least a couple other projects to their credit and a certain realistic awareness of their limitations. While this film doesn't necessarily reflect it, there's talent to be found in the group and, on some weird and funny level, I look forward to seeing what they do next. I also look forward to never watching this film again. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic