The sun rises over the fields, the sheep grazing safely behind barbed wire fences, another day for William Cross hiding out in the cottage he has borrowed from a friend, avoiding the attention of the locals until the sun sets behind the trees, another night as the clock ticks, the tap drips and the wolves howl as he dreams of a woman weeping in the empty bathroom next to where he sleeps.
Regarded as missing by the police who are searching for him and his girlfriend Chantelle Richardson following an incident, “a horrific night of violence” which involved “a large animal running through the streets of London” according to the newspaper which Will is dismayed to find has both their photos on the front page, Will had promised to stay with Chantelle and protect her, a task perhaps greater than he envisaged.
Wolf Garden written, produced and directed by Wayne David, he also stars as Will, focused on the tasks he must undertake on a daily basis, chopping meat to be placed in a bowl and slid under the door of the locked shed in the woods, the routine of each day repeating with little variation as he is haunted by memories of Chantelle (Sian Altman), unsure of what is real and what might be hallucination, a manifestation of fear or guilt.
The film dependent on a single character, that Will is an unstable and so unreliable narrator is not so much a problem as the glimpses of his relationship with Chantelle provided by the fractured narrative which should provide an emotional context on which the story can be built but lack the vitality of animal passion, instead recounting the small talk of two people who behave more like acquaintances than devoted lovers.
Dismissing each other’s feelings and apprehensions about the cottage and noises heard in the night, David his setting kept as much at arm’s length as his own unreachable character, never exploring the potential of the forest as a place of serene beauty and changing nature or contrasting it with the mystery and dread of the night, any attempt at menace instead conveyed by the visitations of Grant Masters’ mauled herald of doom whose conversations with Will about the imminent full moon exemplify the art of avoiding the subject.
The frail twisted bough grown from the cursed seed planted in the Wolf Garden standing as neither credible human drama nor supernatural thriller, credulity collapsing when a report of three murders in the village fails to prompt an immediate door-to-door search by the police, it is a modern werewolf tale whose tail hangs in shame, a British werewolf in the home counties which has inherited nothing of note from its diverse hybrid ancestors nor adds any novel adaptations which it can call its own.
Wolf Garden is available on digital download now