A better-than-average werewolf flick about a man who, after being attacked by a werewolf in Africa and contracting lycanthropy, journeys home to America to spend time with his older sister in the hopes that 'love' can cure his noctural transformations. What makes Bad Moon stand out is that the hero of the film is not a person at all.
Ted was attacked by a werewolf while out of the country, and after a long absence from his sister Janet's life, he returns to see if maybe she can help cure him. Of course, it becomes pretty clear that Ted is not going to be able to control his new, more animalistic nature. The only creature standing in his way is Janet's dog, Thor, a huge German Shepherd.
There's an acting maxim that states: "Never work with children or animals." The idea being that animals and children don't actually act, they simply 'are' -- which can make even the best actor or actress look like a hack in comparison. Michael Pare (as Uncle Ted) holds his own against the Shepherd and his sister's young son, Brett. The nephew starts to realize something isn't right about his Uncle Ted, but it is really Thor who realizes early on that there's danger.
Like the earliest warning shocks from a coming earthquake, Thor senses the predator lurking in Ted. Pare manages to make the most of the interplay between the lycanthrope and the German Shepherd. Thor looks at Uncle Ted and knows. And Uncle Ted looks at Thor and knows that the dog knows. Director Eric Red manages to convey the hidden communications that passes between man and beast -- or beast and beast, rather. The most uncanny moment comes when Uncle Ted 'defeats' Thor and urinates near Thor's doghouse, marking it as his territory!
As Uncle Ted's more wolf-like side emerges in the form of a domineering attitude towards his nephew and sister, Thor tries to stop him, but without human help, can a single dog protect his family? The storyline leverages the very real concern that people can have with large dogs as family pets. Mariel Hemingway is Judy, the mother and lawyer who is efficient and sensible, so when the family dog begins to harass Uncle Ted she sensibly worries about her son's safety. Even a loving dog of that size could make a 'mistake' after all.
Bad Moon is one of the better werewolf movies out there because the werewolf is rarely shown, and when it is visible to the audience it is scary and convincing. This is not a man with some fake hair pasted on him. The werewolf is big, scary and not computer-generated. The too-cute kid is somewhat annoying, but his attempt to rebel against the domination of his Uncle Ted leavens the cutesiness somewhat, and makes Brett less of a prop.
For people who love dogs (as this reviewer does) Bad Moon will be a deeply satisfying movie. There's some dramatic depth here, as Uncle Ted is not a complete monster -- he does want to cure himself, and he's a desperate man at the end of his rope. But none of that matters to Thor, who cares only about protecting his family. It's an interesting battle between two kinds of beasts -- both with singular, simple goals, predator versus defender. The ending is great, with a few genuine surprises. I highly recommend Bad Moon for werewolf fans and dog lovers.