Also known as Howlers – and listed as such on IMDb – High Moon is a self-aware western/horror/action flick about a gang of zombie werewolves and a handsome gunslinger who’s got to stop them. Oh, did I mention there’s also a ninja in the movie?
From the first few lines of this review you should easily understand that High Moon is a B-movie. As such, most elements of quality filmmaking can’t be found here because of the budget and intent of this flick, which consists of nothing more than being silly and entertaining.
Personally, I enjoy the occasional cheap and silly horror movie: I mentioned before on my website how much I love 70s exploitation and 80s slasher flicks. Most of those aren’t good, obviously, but they’re fun to watch (for me, at least). So, when I watch and review a movie like High Moon I don’t apply the same criteria as I do with the majority of horror films.
In fact, High Moon is clearly not a great film. It’s not even good, per se. It’s, however, extremely entertaining and enjoyable… for the most part.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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My review is also available on IMDb – Howlers (2019)
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First of all, this flick features a lot of eye-candy: Colt (the gunslinger played by Chad Michael Collins) is a handsome all-American cowboy, covered in oil for large portions of this movie; as for the male viewers, there are a lot of sexy senhoritas that might not be great at acting, but are pleasant to look at for sure.
There’s also Sean Patrick Flanery in the movie: he plays the corrupt mayor of the town this movie takes place in, and he provides a super over-the-top, macho performance that is just hilarious to witness.
In general, all the actors seem to have so much fun in the movie, delivering silly one-liners that perfectly fit the self-aware tone of High Moon.
Not everything is displayed in a cheap B-movie way in High Moon, though. The fight scenes are extremely well-choreographed, and Chad Collins proves to be a solid actor when it comes to action sequences, in which he did his own stunts! Also, the movie is quite gory and violent when it comes to death scenes and fist-fights: everything is played for fun, though, which makes every bloody sequence mindlessly enjoyable.
Even the unconvincing werewolf makeup, combined with off-screen transformation scenes, helps in establishing a very charming B-movie atmosphere. The television-like cinematography is also part of the charm in this type of flick, even though it’s something that would be unacceptable in a more serious production.
There are a few shortcomings in High Moon, such as the terrible audio mixing and sound design. Even with a low-budget, the fact that characters sound like they’re in a cave when they speak in a regular room is simply inexcusable. It also ruins some of the best jokes/visual gags, because the audio is so bad the viewer can’t fully focus on what people are saying in the scene.
The pacing is also all over the place: very exciting and funny moments are abruptly interrupted by awful “serious” moments between characters that really feel misplaced and only slow down the pace.
Finally, the gore is – as I said – usually fun to watch and satisfying, but towards the end it starts to rely too heavily on CGI, coming across as clearly fake and distracting.
Overall, High Moon is the perfect mindless flick to watch with some friends and a lot of beer. Whether you’ll laugh with or at the movie, if you’re down for a cheap action/horror flick you can’t go wrong with this one!
High Moon 6/10
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