Once in awhile a movie’s title is enough to coax one into watching it. Many interestingly-titled films never deliver the outrageous wild time one would expect given their title. “Helen Keller vs Nightwolves”, on the other hand, express-delivers a blood soaked, swear-word-covered package filled with wild visuals and a story as crazy as the title would imply.
In “Helen Keller vs Nightwolves”, Helen loses her hearing and sight after her family is attacked by a pack of nightwolves. Local law enforcement is no help, but a drifter teaches Helen how to fight. She learns how to communicate and sense the world around her, becoming a badass, sword wielding defender of the town. Just like in the history books.
Okay, so the film may not be historically accurate but writer, director and actor, Ross Patterson (FDR: AMERICAN BADASS), came up with a very creative script. At first it may seem as though the film is making fun of Helen Keller, but as it plays out you will realize that it is a story of overcoming disabilities to become the strongest person in town.
What surprised me the most is how “Helen Keller vs Nightwolves” is actually a movie within a movie. Ross Patterson plays the part of director ‘St. James St. James’ who talks about his film and about himself.
The cast Patterson has assembled is made up of a number of familiar faces. Lin Shaye (INSIDIOUS 3) playing an older Helen Keller recounting her battle with the Nightwolves to her grandchildren. Lynn, who was hilarious in FDR: American Badass as Eleanor Roosevelt, brings that same comedic energy to Helen Keller. Every one of her scenes had me laughing out loud.
Jessie Wiseman (BELLFLOWER) plays the younger version of Helen Keller. She played blind very convincingly and she also knows how to handle a sword. While Jessie has not had many roles, she holds her own in the scenes she shares with the veteran actors of the cast. One of those actors is the hilarious Barry Bostwick. While his Jonathan character is not nearly as high energy as his FDR, Barry is still in fine comedic form and I could not help but smile every time he appeared.
The film presentation is old school grindhouse, similar to the style of the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse. The quality of the image is occasionally grainy or dirty with flaws appearing in the print. These flaws are intentional and help serve a dual purpose. The first purpose is as an homage to the type of films that have come before it. Presenting the film in this style also makes things such as are poor wolf animations and other low-budget aspects more acceptable. While I feel this style has been overdone in general, Ross Patterson uses it very effectively as another tool to add humor to the film.
There is also plenty of practical blood in the film, much of it ending up on Wiseman. I also got a kick out of the use of stock footage, especially in regards to the “1910” cafe that the characters visit on multiple occasions. While the film does not contain the nudity normally associated with a grindhouse film, the dialog is very colorful and some may find it offensive.
“Helen Keller vs Nightwolves” does not take itself too seriously and neither should you. While there are not as many gut-busting laughs as there were in FDR: American Badass, this film maintains a kinetic energy that few bigger-budgeted horror comedies have reached. “Helen Keller vs Nightwolves” digs its claws into your funny bone and does not let go.
I give it 4 out of 5 Stubs.
Look for “Helen Keller vs Nightwolves” October 31st on DVD and V.O.D.
To find out more visit their official site here: http://www.helenkellervsnightwolves.com/