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JBB Featured Film Reviewer

‘The Eclipse’: Super werewolves do not appear; eclipse sighted in name only

People were asking me how we’ve been preparing up in Cleveburg about the potential onslaught of super werewolves we might get at 3:15 or thereabouts p.m. today when the total solar eclipse happens.

Mostly, the county officials have been putting up inaccurate billboards in neighboring counties trying to entice more than the 47 billion people expected to flock to Northeast Ohio for the eclipse so that more people will eat at Applebee’s.

Thusly, they’re totally ignoring the potential onslaught of super werewolves presaged by Marvel Comics’ Creatures on the Loose 36.

What would you expect? They’re all related to Mayor Vaughn from Jaws anyway.

My letter to the editor to the local newspaper wasn’t published, either. So that basically meant that I had to go it alone, my attempts to warn the populace falling on deaf ears, and all those that I’ve tried to warn just would have to fend for themselves.

Me, I did some thorough research by talking to this 55-year-old guy who used to work at the downtown video store that got replaced by a Dollar General who has a ponytail and still goes by the name “Skip.” He said he’s watched American Werewolf in London at least 67 times (the parts with Jenny Agutter more than that) and he told me point-blank that the easiest way to get rid of any potential super werewolves during the eclipse, short of shooting them off into outer space, is to spray them in the face with silver spray paint.

Seeing as that’s EXACTLY the same paint we use to coat the spectacular Iron Butt Award we give out to judge for the World Drive-In Movie Festival, I didn’t even need to go to the local hardware store. This saved me time and money, and, comfortably assured that I had enough to defend my family from any lupine peril, I decided to review what I thought would be an appropriate flick called The Eclipse from 2009.

In Ireland (where it was filmed), I guess when you do a flick with that title, it’s OK to not have an eclipse or super werewolves. Instead you can get away with a couple shots of the moon some ghosts and make it about dealing with the mechanics of loss and the ways people try to cope with sudden holes in their lives.

They do stuff differently in Europe.

'The Eclipse': Super werewolves do not appear; eclipse sighted in name only 1
It’s 3:13 in the a.m. and Michael (Ciaran Hinds) is wandering around the house being haunted again in “The Eclipse.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

The setting for all this is the Cobh Literary Festival in Ireland, where a whole bunch of literary types have gathered. One of the organizers of the event is Michael (Ciaran Hinds, whom a lot of people might recognize from the Harry Potter flicks), a widowed dad who’s a shop teacher and a stalled writer with two kids. He wakes up at 3:13 in the a.m. because he’s haunted — indicated by discordant piano music and him seeing things in scenes when he’s wandering around the house.

He stays in touch with his father-in-law, who’s also haunted by the loss of his child. He’s been having dreams about his daughter.

There’s also Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn, Mutants’ll recognize him from the Liam Neeson action films Unknown and Blacklight), the guest of honor at the festival who’s the popular hotshot writer who does media interviews all over the place, and he’s haunted by a marriage he’s tired of and an affair he had.

Lena (Iben Hjejle), more of a thoughtful ruminating and spiritual writer, writes about ghosts and being haunted. She provides the eclipse of the flick’s title since it’s also on the cover of the short story collection she’s promoting.

If you really want to get in the meaning of the title, writer/director Connor McPherson seemed to be trying to show how the shadows of the past — memories or relationships — intrude or obstruct our present, and therefore can block someone’s future.

'The Eclipse': Super werewolves do not appear; eclipse sighted in name only 2
Michael (Ciaran Hinds) and Lena (Iben Hjejle) wander around a cemetery while sipping some coffee in “The Eclipse.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

So most of the characters are doing their best to cope and achieve resolution in life — some less bloody and violent than others. Some deal with things the best they can, surviving to see the potential of something better in the future. Some give up and see no future and some ultimately remain trapped by the ghosts of their past.

There’s also a fight scene where one guy grabs another by the whangdoodle.

Ben's Bloody Best

Best Way to Low-Key Make Yourself Seem Vulnerable and Accessible Behind Your Stoic Exterior: Michael falls into a hole after he and Lena pull over to look at an evening view of the sea.

'The Eclipse': Super werewolves do not appear; eclipse sighted in name only 3
Randolph (Aidan Quinn), the hotshot guest of honor at the literary festival, does a media spot and shows that he can make intriguing hand gestures in addition to his abilities as an author in “The Eclipse.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

Best Attempt to Portray Yourself as Honest When You’re Really Trying to Get Back in a Person’s Pants: Nicholas, the hotshot guest of honor at the literary shindig, throws himself on the mercy of Lena while simultaneously kicking his wife to the curb, saying: “I’m a miserable fake. And this dishonesty has to end.”

Best Way to Get Your Butt Whooped by Dad: Michael’s kid decides to walk to the gas station for snacks alone.

Best Way to Get Attention: Nicholas has an allergic reaction to shellfish out in the middle of the street, and that gets Lena all concerned.

Best Way to End a Brawl: Michael does the Irish version of the whangdoodle Iron Claw.

Best Place for a Ghost to Hide: Behind the bowling shoes.

Two great jump scares come out of nowhere. Some great ensemble acting, with Randolph being a sleazy jerkola. Since this is a drive-in movie review and the main determining factor of the star ratings are the three Bs — blood, breasts and beasts — I can only give it two and a half stars. It’s three stars if you allow for things such as emotional resonance and solid performances. Check it out streaming on TubiTv, Vudu and Kanopy or it’s available on physical media.

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