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The Curse of Wolf Mountain (2022) Review

As a child, AJ (Keli Price, The Hyperions, Sleep No More) witnessed the death of his parents while on a camping trip, and lately he’s been having constant nightmares about it. The Curse of Wolf Mountain opens with his therapist Dr. Avery (Tobin Bell, Saw, Let Us In) having him relive it under hypnosis before suggesting he return to the scene of their deaths in order to help him remember the missing details. 

So, he, along with his pregnant girlfriend Sam (Karissa Lee Staples, Walker, Red Hook), his brother Max (David Lipper, Hunt Club, Death Link), and his partner Lexi (Fernanda Romero, The Mortuary Collection, Possession Diaries), as well as James (Matt Rife, Don’t Suck, Black Pumpkin), and Emma (Malu Trevejo) head out into the woods in hopes of finally unlocking his repressed memories. 

But they’re not the only ones in the woods, a trio of bank robbers, led by Eddie (Danny Trejo, Hunting Games, A Tale of Two Guns), are hiding out in the forest. But who is the masked figure haunting both AJ’s nightmares and the woods of Wolf Mountain?

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Apart from playing AJ. Keli Price also wrote the script and his co-star David Lipper directed it, so much of the credit or blame for how The Curse of Wolf Mountain turned out rests on their shoulders. And they certainly start out on the right foot, a childhood tragedy, rumours of a strange creature, and lots of potential victims who range from likeable to instantly hatable, running around in the woods.

Unfortunately, The Curse of Wolf Mountain’s budget, or lack thereof, becomes a curse of its own as soon as the sun goes down. Rather than deal with the expense of renting and dragging lights and power supplies into the forest, Price and Lipper decided to shoot day for night and the results are worse, much worse, than usual. Not only does it look extremely unnatural, but in more than one scene I had trouble making out what was happening.

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The script also suffers from its share of problems, including not making use of its elements. The subplot involving the bank robbers is almost a total waste. I expected Trejo to have very limited screen time but the impact any of them have on the plot is really nonexistent. They could have been hikers, rangers, or inbred mutants for all the difference it would have made.

And despite shots of a full moon and frequent howls, The Curse of Wolf Mountain’s legend of a werewolf type creature is wasted as well. The first kills involve strangling someone with a rope and stabbing with a big knife, something a werewolf isn’t going to bother with. And the two “comic relief” rangers not only aren’t funny, they’re pretty much insultingly stupid. Whether the fact they’re both black is a coincidence or meant to make lines like “That was Beethoven? I thought it was James Brown wrote that!” funnier is anyone’s guess.

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The film does work up some energy in the last act as our leads plus a few Acme Insta-Victims run around in the woods. There are even a couple of decent deaths, including an impaling and someone face planting into a bear trap. It’s not overly gory, but at least it delivers some onscreen deaths. Granted, the very obvious dummies that go over the cliff probably would have been better staying off-screen.

But any momentum it may have built up is ruined by the Scooby-Doo like reveal. With the killer tied to a tree, his mask pulled off to reveal just who you thought it was even before they pitched their tents. The real The Curse of Wolf Mountain is one of the year’s most obvious killers.

Uncork’d Entertainment has released The Curse of Wolf Mountain on DVD as well as Digital Platforms. You don’t have to hunt down suggestions for what to watch next, just ask FilmTagger.

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