This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn't exist.
We're no strangers to the supernatural in film and we have all definitely been exposed to a typical creature feature. Trying to find a fresh new angle on a subject that has been made countless times before is a difficult task but writer, director and producer Larry Fessenden has possibly found a way to do so by way of a character study and dark self-discovery in Blackout.
Charlie, a painter and construction worker, has been going through a transformation he cannot fully comprehend. Ending his engagement, saying goodbye to his friends, he resolves to leave his small town and end the turmoil and the bloodshed he knows he's responsible for. But as the full moon approaches, Charlie cannot seem to be able to leave as he keeps getting pulled back. Its only a matter of time before he attacks someone he cares about.
There is a decent idea within the film and there are a few intriguing characters that are only given a scene or a few moments such Earl and Miguel, but in order to see the stand out moments, there are many pieces to this puzzle that you need to overlook. At times the dialogue is overwritten, jarring shot choices and unfortunately, a few wooden actors. Faults aside the story is an interesting take on the werewolf conundrum, veering away from some stereotypical beats you'd expect in the form of in depth one on one conversations and making it very clear who the wolf is. Another aspect of the film that may irritate or satisfy, is the fact that the original werewolf, seen only once in one of the standout moments in the film, is never explored. We move beyond caring how this terrible thing happened to our protagonist and focus on how he copes with his affliction.
Although not the most compelling werewolf centred film, the moments that stay with you, aside from the kills, are the quieter and calmer scenes. Like every film featuring a werewolf, the transformation scene is the one to wait for. As Charlie sees the full moon, he literally changes while driving and its something to be behold. This is the clear turning point and highlight of the entire film. Those who love and appreciate slow horror mixed in with a character study will enjoy Blackout, but if you're looking for a new and fresh take, this might not be the film for you.
Blackout had its World Premiere at Fantasia Film Festival 2023