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Howl (2015 film)

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Title: Howl (2015 film)  
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Subject: Living Dead films, Comedy horror films, Howl (disambiguation), Shauna Macdonald, British black comedy films
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Howl (2015 film)

Directed by Paul Hyett
Written by Mark Huckerby
Nick Ostler
Paul Hyett
Neil Marshall
Starring Ed Speleers
Sean Pertwee
Holly Weston
Shauna Macdonald
Elliot Cowan
Rosie Day
Calvin Dean
Duncan Preston
Ross Mullan
Music by Paul E. Francis
Cinematography Adam Biddle
Edited by Agnieszka Liggett
Distributed by Starchild Pictures
Release dates
Region 2 DVD
26th October 2015
Running time
89 minutes [1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Howl is a direct-to-video 2015 British indie monster movie, directed by Paul Hyett and starring Ed Speleers. Its tagline is "Last Train. Full Moon. All Change."

The film is set to be released on Region 2 DVD on 26 October 2015.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Marketing and Release 4
    • Marketing 4.1
    • Release 4.2
  • Reception 5
    • Audience reception 5.1
    • Critical reception 5.2
  • External links 6
  • References 7


The plot involves an overnight passenger train, the Alpha Trax, which leaves London at midnight and under a full moon. An hour after departure, the train is travelling through a remote and forested part of the English countryside, in a mobile communication "dead zone". Here the train is forced to undergo an emergency brake to prevent a derailment when a deer runs onto the track. Old-timer passenger Ged (Duncan Preston) recalls a similar event happening in the exact same spot - the Great Thornton Forest Rail Crash of 1963 - whereby all the passengers were found dismembered and partially eaten the following morning.

Down-on-his-luck train guard Joe (Ed Speleers) and his unrequited love, the tea trolley girl Ellen (Holly Weston), try to hold things together among the group. Having recently been turned down for a promotion, Joe is determined to turn his life around, "grow a pair" and become an "alpha of the pack". However, the passengers of the stranded Alpha Trax are all initially strangers, from different walks of British life, are passively-aggressive towards each other, and demand that Joe get the train moving.

The already strained situation is deepened when the train driver Tony (Sean Pertwee) goes outside to remove the body of the deer from the undercarriage. Whilst outside, Tony gets the deer's blood on him, and is suddenly eviscerated by the creature which was stalking the deer - a howling, contorted humanoid with wolf-like legs and glowing eyes, yet disturbingly human and largely hairless. The train's fuel lines are severed and the radio antenna destroyed in a series of attacks, and subsequently the passengers are cut off from the rest of the world. The dysfunctional group are forced to work together - or against each other, with at least one of them undergoing a transformation themselves - as the Alpha Trax is besieged by a family of ancient and murderous werewolves that come from the mists of the forest, and also from within the train.



Howl was directed by Paul Hyett, previously known for his effects collaborations with fellow British horror film director Neil Marshall.[2] Hyett had previously been a special effects, creature, prosthetic and make-up designer for Marshall's earlier films such as Doomsday, The Descent, Centurion, and Dog Soldiers; the latter 2002 film also a werewolf movie. Actress Shauna Macdonald played the lead role Sarah in The Descent, and also has a starring role in Howl. Sean Pertwee starred in Dog Soldiers and also has a role in Howl. Paul Hyett also worked on the effects for the British horror films The Woman in Black and Attack the Block.

The interior train shots were filmed in Croydon, London, and London Waterloo station in Lambeth. Exterior shots were filmed in the Black Park Country Park adjacent to Pinewood Studios.[3]

Marketing and Release


The Horror Addict channel on YouTube premiered the official trailer for Howl on May 13, 2015. The video currently has almost two and a half million views.[4] A total of three different official trailers for the film were released over the summer.

Four different film posters have been released; one showing a bloodied, inhuman claw in sky, hovering over the train, and variations of; one of glowing eyes looking through a window over bloodstained seats; and the final poster is a bloodied human hand on the window, with a full moon outside.[5][6]


The film had no theatrical release, but was shown at a number of international film festivals before its release on home video. Howl first premiered at Fantasy Filmfest which was held in Germany on 5 August 2015. It was subsequently shown at Film4 FrightFest in the United Kingdom on 31 August, and Popcorn Frights Film Festival in the United States on 3 October.

The DVD release date was initially set for 16 October,[7] but has been pushed back closer to Halloween at 26 October. In the UK market the DVD will be age rated 18, due to disturbing imagery, and graphic and bloody violence.


Audience reception

The film currently has a rating of 66% on RottenTomatoes, based on an aggregate from 10 critic reviews.[8]

The film currently has a user vote of 5.6 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database, based on a weighted average from 573 users.[9]

Critical reception

The film was met with mixed but generally positive reviews from critics, especially from those within the genre. However mainstream critics were generally more lukewarm in their reception,

Kate Muir of The Times negatively likened the film to Snakes on a Plane, giving it two out of five stars. "Soon it all gets bloody as the (somewhat unconvincing) lycanthrope goes loco on the locomotive."[10]

Luiz H. C., one of the critics of horror film magazine and website Bloody Disgusting, gave the film a positive review with three-and-a-half out of five stars, saying that: "Howl is a fun and frightening romp".[11] Pat Torfe, also of Bloody Disgusting, gave the film four out of five stars, saying that: "Howl lives up to it's title in many ways."[12]

Kim Newman of Empire Magazine gave the film three out of five stars, and said of the film: "An unashamed B-movie, but unashamed fun."[13] Mark Kermode of The Observer: "Engagingly sympathetic portrayals of stoical working women and harassed railway guards keep us on side as the action rattles through familiar generic junctions."[14] Hannah McGill of The List: "The black humour hits home without breaking the tension, while the gore - as one might expect given Hyett's background in makeup effects - is grimly convincing."[15] Garry McConnachie of The Daily Record: "There's still much to admire and enjoy."[16]

External links


  1. ^ DVD
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Howl (2015)". IMDb. 
  4. ^ Howl (2015) Official Trailer. YouTube. 13 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "UHM - Upcoming Horror Movies - Movie - Howl". 
  6. ^ "Howl (2015)". IMDb. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Howl". 18 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Howl (2015/I) - User ratings". IMDb. 
  10. ^ "Howl". The Times. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Empire's Howl Movie Review". 
  14. ^ Mark Kermode. "Howl review – blood on the tracks in a low-budget railway horror". the Guardian. 
  15. ^ "Howl". The List. 
  16. ^ Garry McConnachie (7 September 2015). "Movie review: Howl (15)". dailyrecord. 
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