Monday, July 2, 2012

Don't Stop Stock Footaging

I’m going to let Netflix take care of this:

“Using a risky transplant operation, Dr. Hewlitt (Justine Bateman) restores the vision of newly blinded Aaron (Cory Monteith) by replacing his eyes with those of an injured wolf's. Now, Aaron can see in the dark, and his dangerous wolflike behavior only increases with time. Part wolf as well, museum curator Lydia (Tinsel Korey) decides to help Aaron, but Dr. Hewlitt's colleagues are convinced the man-wolf is dangerous and resolve to hunt him down.”


Quick Plot: In gloriously foggy stock footage, wolves hunt bison across a beautiful prairie.

I'm going to pause right now to say something of vital importance: I hope you really like watching stock footage of wolves. Because if you choose to watch Hybrid, you are essentially choosing to watch about 58 minutes worth of, you know, stock footage of wolves.

Still with me? You're brave. Brave, like a WOLF.

After what feels like 9 hours worth of wolves running freely as credits roll, we meet a biologist (played by the lesser Bateman Justine) explaining to two dozen local doctors that she's heading military experiments on transplanting animal body parts into humans. The "confidentially recruited" 24 local doctors are asked to help find possible participants for such an experiment but to be really quiet about it. Somehow, the fact that every single doctor from the nation of Canada knows about this "secret" and therefore it's no longer a "secret" is never acknowledged.

We'll forgive this, because while Dr. Not Jason Bateman is describing her work, we get the pleasure of seeing a chimpanzee with Siberian husky eyes. It's cute.

Moving on...

Finn Hudson--er, "Aaron" but it's oodles more fun to refer to every character Corey Monteith ever plays as "Finn Hudson" so we shall--works as an operator at some sort of plant. Or something. I thought he was a security guard who spends his work days playing video games, but I'm apparently just not as smart as this movie. Or maybe I’m just lost because for a good 8 minutes, there was no insertion of stock wolf footage. Now I’ve forgotten what movie I’m even watching.

Pull it together Emily! Be one with your spirit animal!

(sigh) That's better

A fire breaks out at the plant security video game land where Finn works. Ever the hero, Finn races through flames to save the idiot whose chainsmoking habits started the explosion in the first place. I guess that’s supposed to tell us that his character is  noble (like a WOLF), and we’ll have to accept it since it’s the only—and I really do mean only—thing we ever learn about Finn Aaron Hudson.

Meanwhile, over in the local Native AmeriCanadian reservation, teacher Lydia (although the Netflix description says museum curator, but who’s counting?) drives home to discover a dying—you guessed it--wolf. She promptly drives it to the vet, who even more promptly passes it on to the local military biological research facility (EVERY town has one of those) where the overenthusiastic doctor from the intro does some radical surgery. Before you can say Don’t Stop Believing, Finn Hudson wakes up with beady yellow wolf eyes.

Sometimes the universe is very generous. Sometimes the world seems to say, “Emily, I haven’t been nice to you lately and I want to make up for it with a gift. It’s nothing extravagant or expensive—heck, this being SyFy, it probably cost less than a trip to Super Cuts with a Groupon—but it’s just a little something that I think you’ll appreciate. Something to say, ‘don’t feel lost and alone. I care.’”

Oh Universe! You’re making me tear up here!

See, Corey Monteith doesn’t just get wolf eyes (and therefore, wolf night vision). He gets misaligned wolf eyes that seems to keep one pupil located south and the other pointing to the sky. He doesn’t just start having wolf feelings; he begins to FEEL what wolves FEEL, mostly in stock footage form. His appetite changes towards the rarer meat side, making him become, dare I say it, HUNGRY LIKE A WOLF (a song which, hey! was even covered on Glee).

Best of all, Aaron/Finn catches the newest symptom of 21st century werewolfishness: an allergy to shirts.

Perhaps it’s the presence of Twilight franchise actress Tinsel Korey, but by the end of the 90 minute Hybrid, Corey Monteith gives Taylor Launtner a run for his residuals in the Who Wears a Shirt Less contest that every young male actor dreams of winning.

Except unlike the buff and brown Launtner, Monteith sports a farmer’s tan and runs like a kid who ducked out of gym class his whole life with falsified claims of asthma.

And run he does! Hilariously! And a lot. Almost as much as those stock footage wolf actors run, but in more of a gentle jog kind of manner. It’s fairly wonderful.

So to break down: Hybrid is essentially a hybrid film of four ingredients:

1-65% stock footage of wolves. Did I mention the stock footage of wolves?

2-25% long shots of Corey Monteith’s awkward 5K training
3-7% bland dialogue by Lydia about the importance of heritage and landzzzzzzzzzzz
2%-other stuff of little importance (although watching a nurse at the research lab discover adorable loose chimpanzees and react as if fleeing from Leatherface is kind of amusing)
4- 1% stock footage from the buffalo’s point of view

Of all this action, 80% is scored to what must have been public domain Native Ameri-Canadian tribal drum and flute music, with the remaining 20% playing out to a very conspicuous, very bad rap reggae something. There’s a love scene, which is about as sexy as flossing your teeth after eating a lot of broccoli. A bar brawl that makes me sad to see so much wasted beer. A last act introduction of villainous soldiers that just leaves you missing that comforting stock footage rather than, one hour and ten minutes into a 90 minute film, having to decipher one camouflage clad character from the next.

We have no real reason to ever care about Wolfboy, because we know absolutely nothing about him prior to his transplant. His romance with Lydia is as stiff as Finn’s scenes with Lea Michelle’s Rachel, only worse because we don’t even get the bonus of choreography. And of course, when all else fails, director Yelena Lanskaya simply cuts to the same reel of wolf film, all scored to the same generic tribal tunes. It’s terrible, and yet, it’s exactly what I wanted from a SyFy movie about wolf eyes.

High Notes
Well um, see, the thing is that…uh…wow! Look over there! I see WOLVES!

Low Notes
Aside from the fact that the film is just not good at any real point, the third act soldier hunt—which literally spends about 10 minutes with brand new characters we can’t tell apart—is just a painfully sluggish way to bring down an already sluggish film

Lessons Learned, Canada Style
So let’s say you’re a world class biologist conducting groundbreaking research for the Canadian military. Where might you go when an experiment goes wrong? Why, hop on that Interweb and hit up LycanthropyResources.Com of course! Modern science at its best

During the process of making love, it is customary that the man removes his shirt while the woman remains fully clothed at all times

In Canada, young men read magazines from back to front

When in need of content to pad out the running length of your film, there are two handy tricks one might try: 1) STOCK FOOTAGE OF WOLVES! and of course, the far less obvious 2) Have your lead character have a spiritual experience that is essentially a montage of the entire film that ran before it, complete with—wait for it—STOCK FOOTAGE OF WOLVES

Thankfully, Hybrid is streaming on Instant Watch and does not require any monetary effort to view. Bad movie fans will enjoy its awfulness, but be aware that this is bad in a ‘so dull it’s good’ way (which makes it more interesting than Basic Instinct 2, if that makes sense on your cinema scale). Considering this is part of SyFy’s “Maneater” series (the same brand that bred the similarly terrible yet on some random level amusing Blood Monkey), you should know whether it will bring you enjoyment or not. Basically, if you like wolves, this was made for you. If you want to see Corey Monteith stumble through dialogue with even more clumsiness than he does on Glee, this is for you. If you want to see a really awkward white dude run like a really awkward white dude, then by all means, queue up Hybrid. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.


  1. so... this is about wolves or something?

    very nice post : )

  2. WOO! You forgot to mention Finn dive bombing a dude with his crotch. That was my favorite part of this whole movie.

  3. Guess that means I have to rewatch it!

  4. the reuse of the same wolf picture over and over in your review is not lost on me, by the way. :)

  5. I clicked on this thinking you were reviewing the hybrid car horror movie:

  6. James: just following the film!

    Cortez: Is that a killer hybrid car movie? If so, I'm in!

  7. Ha ha, brilliant! But if you want to see stock footage used very cleverly, go watch Transformers Dark Side of the Moon. There is so much stock footage in that (and of animals) you will be amazed. Go watch it now and see what I mean!

  8. For a film with a hefty multi-million dollar budget, that's INSANE! But hey, I guess you gotta cut costs somewhere eh?