BLACKOUT is a new werewolf movie from none other than horror filmmaker Larry Fessenden. A classic werewolf story that also covers current issues. Its world premiere is at Fantasia 2023. Read our full Blackout (2023) movie review here!
BLACKOUT is a werewolf movie that had me a little torn. I loved the classic werewolf story and I appreciated the focus on various issues. However, it gets a bit too long. Had it ended 15 minutes earlier, the overall result would’ve been stronger for me.
Overall, I found the performances to be a bit of a mixed bag. It has really solid (even strong) performances by several familiar faces in all kinds of smaller roles. For me, there’s a problem with some of the performances also feeling strangely off. Mostly from newer talent that doesn’t quite nail the style and vibe of this movie.
Continue reading our Blackout movie review below.
The film is getting its world premiere at Fantasia 2023, which feels like the perfect setting.
A classic werewolf story (with a few twists)
We meet the artist Charley Barrett (Alex Hurt), who also seems to be working in construction in a small upstate New York town. No shame in that, as we all know most artists struggle and make money elsewhere.
In any case, we meet Charley when he checks out of the motel he’s been calling home for the past month. From there, he goes out on a series of small missions before he plans on getting out of town. As the night and the full moon comes closer, he becomes increasingly desperate to leave and get as far away as possible.
Before I say anything else, I have to mention that I loved seeing Alex Hurt as Charley Barret. He is very obviously the son of the wonderful actor William Hurt, who passed away in March of 2022. The fact that Charley’s father also recently died is a deep cut.
The use of real-life family photos with Alex and William is a nice detail. Especially because it reminds us why Alex Hurt looks so extremely familiar whenever he smiles.
Getting back to the plot of Blackout, I should mention that the title refers to the blackouts that Charley experiences. And yes, this is because Charley is a werewolf. Unfortunately, the local residents decided that one of the Latino workers must be responsible and Charley cannot live with this.
So many Larry Fessenden actors
As with many other brilliant filmmakers, Larry Fessenden is always able to draw in actors for his project. That’s why Blackout also has a strong cast of past collaborators. These include Addison Timlin (Depraved), James Le Gros (Wildling), Barbara Crampton (Jakob’s Wife), Joe Swanberg (Offseason), and Jeremy Holm (Brooklyn 45).
For Blackout, we also see newcomers working with Larry Fessenden, but still familiar faces. These include Marshall Bell (Total Recall) and Marc Senter (The Lost, The Free Fall). Unfortunately, I feel like the first isn’t really giving his best work, and the latter is grossly underutilized as one of the town idiots.
Marc Senter is perfect at portraying villains or other characters that are deep and dark. A shame that isn’t used in any way here.
Blackout world premiere at Fantasia 2023
The writer and director of Blackout is Larry Fessenden, who is already an iconic filmmaker in his own right. By finally getting to make this werewolf film, he is both fulfilling a dream and rounding out his classic subgenre trilogy.
This “triptych” began back in 1997 with the vampire drama Habit, and continued with the 2019 Frankenstein story Depraved. Now, with Blackout, all three classic horror movie subgenres are covered.
It’s no surprise to see a focus on sociopolitical themes, ecological concerns, and various conspiracies from characters that are fuelled by suspicion and paranoia. It’s classic Larry Fessenden and something I personally always appreciate.
If only this movie had been a bit tighter in the final editing and skipped the final 15 minutes or so, this werewolf movie would have been much stronger. On the other hand, it also would’ve lacked those last twists and turns which would’ve been a shame. In any case, you should definitely check it out.
This movie would land at 2½ out of 5 if we gave half-ratings. But we don’t and Blackout does have a lot going for it, so that’s why we end on 3 out of 5 despite the mentioned issues.
Blackout is having its world premiere at Fantasia 2023.
Director: Larry Fessenden
Writer: Larry Fessenden
Cast: Alex Hurt, Addison Timlin, Motell Gyn Foster, Joseph Castillo-Midyett, Ella Rae Peck, Rigo Garay, John Speredakos, Michael Buscemi, Joe Swanberg, James Le Gros, Kevin Corrigan, Barbara Crampton
A Fine Arts painter is convinced that he is a werewolf wreaking havoc on a small American town under the full moon.