It’s October and horror flicks must flood my television screen! In keeping with this, my husband and I settled in to watch 2010’s Medium Raw: Night Of The Wolf. Written and directed by Andrew Cymek, who also stars as Johnny Morgan, the film follows Morgan as he searches for the serial killer known as The Wolf who he believes to be responsible for the death of his older sister over 20 years ago. [SPOILERS] Teaming with Elliot Carbon (John Rhys-Davies), Morgan finds the lair of The Wolf and is able to capture him, despite his enormous suit of armor and spring-loaded helmet which resembles a wolf’s jaws. Once the killer is captured, he is sentenced to an asylum after being declares insane.
Morgan and his partner, Pete Gallant (Jason Reso/Christian from the WWE) go to Parker’s Asylum where The Wolf/Harold Grierson (Greg Dunham) is being housed and also where Johnny’s ex wife Jamie (Brigitte Kingsley) works as a psychiatrist. In the asylum, we see other patients who are all controlled by shock collars; a cannibalistic woman named Mabel (Sandi Ross), a massive man with Hulk-like strength that is angered by the color red, and a quirky naked man with a disturbing foot fetish. Jamie is seen counseling Mabel briefly, nearly getting attacked in the process. As she works, Morgan and his partner break into the cell of The Wolf to confront him. Before Morgan can do something he regrets in his anger about The Wolf not being sentenced to death, the pair is discovered.
At the time their intrusion is discovered, there is a power outage at the asylum. Dr. Robert Parker (William B. Davis) resets the circuits to restore power but somehow also triggers the cell releases, unlocking cell after cell and allowing the dangerous asylum inmates out into the halls of the building. During the chaos, the granddaughter of one of the employees, Sabrina, is lost from the group. They decide to split up and find her before one of the unstable patients does. As Sabrina wanders the halls, she is cornered in a cell by a crazed male inmate. Thankfully, before he can lay a hand on her, Mabel shows up and murders the man. She sweetly asks Sabrina to come with her to the kitchen. Sabrina obliges, only to be locked in a cage as Mabel hacks up bodies and prepares all sorts of various meals.
With The Wolf uncaged and back in his suit of armor, the group is terrified and in desperate search of safety. Jamie stumbles upon Mabel, only to be caught up learning how to cook a human and eventually pinned to the table with a knife through her hand. Morgan is able to lure the massive angry “Hulk” to the kitchen to save his ex-wife and Sabrina, only to find that Grierson has killed the grandmother and is wearing her face. Meanwhile, Grierson’s defense attorney discovers a file that lists Grierson under a different name and has him living in the asylum for years.
We come to find that Dr. Parker is the actual Wolf, Grierson simply his scapegoat for the crimes. In typical bad guy fashion, he explains his plan as he prepares to drown Jamie and after he stabs Morgan in the stomach with his Wolverine-like blades. As he rages, Sabrina slips away. The foot fetishist manages to hide her in a large air duct, but is quickly murdered right before Sabrina’s location is discovered. As Parker begins to shed his Wolf armor in order to retrieve the girl, Morgan arrives and saves the day. He returns to free his wife from what would have been a watery grave and the film ends with the spirits of the dead girls, including Morgan’s sister, shown as finally free.
Mabel is by far my favorite part of this movie. She’s creepy yet hilarious when she gets into her zone and is cooking up “half the staff” in the words of Jamie. She’s exactly the same as everyone’s typical sweet grandmother except for her choice of meat. When Jamie stabs her in the back in her attempt to escape and stop the cooking lesson, Mabel seems only slightly annoyed, easily retaliating and going back to her pots and pans. Hearing her describe certain dishes was highly entertaining and very witty.
The fact that Dr. Parker is actually The Wolf is apparent well before the movie makes its big reveal. He’s a shady man and is very concerned with keeping prying eyes away from Grierson. I would have loved it if Dr. Parker’s character was downplayed a bit more; if there was a single scene that showed him as a victim, the reveal would have had much more impact on the audience. It was an unfortunate missed opportunity.
Cymek has been criticized for starring as the lead in the movie he both wrote and directed, with many critics saying that he should have remained behind the camera and should have put more effort into editing and creating a solid story. While he won’t be winning any awards for his performance, I feel that the critics are being a bit too harsh on the man. He’s not taking anyone’s breath away, but he’s not awful either. I do think that the three acts with title screens could have been deleted to make the movie flow a bit better. The final half of the movie could also have been stretched longer with the beginning scenes without action cut down a bit. Horror movies don’t need excessive character development as other genres do, and Cymek put a bit too much time into that.
Overall, it was a decent flick. I wouldn’t pay to see it and I probably won’t watch it again, but I enjoyed it. The creep factor is high with the naked fetishist, mixed with the cannibal, and fairly decent with The Wolf and the gruesome nature of his crimes against young girls. There are some tense moments and some lovely gruesome deaths, and the cannibalistic kitchen scene is just horrifying. Unfortunately, we lack a bit in the suspense department and the storyline could be stronger. If it’s on your TV, watch it then or DVR for later. Mabel makes it all worth it.