(Justine Bateman, Gordon Tootoosis, et al / DVD / NR / (2007) 2008 / Rhi Entertainment)
Overview: After a young man is blinded in an explosion, he receives the eyes of a wolf in an experimental operation, but starts viewing fellow humans as prey. Like Wolfen, The Howling, and An American Werewolf in London before it, HYBRID delivers a snarlingly sharp twist on the werewolf genre for a new generation of animal lovers.
DVD Verdict: This is the eighth installment in the “Maneater” series and is basically a movie about an experiment in human behavior. Starring Cory Monteith (TV’s “Kyle XY,” Final Destination 3), two-time Emmy Award® nominee Justine Bateman (TV’s “Family Ties”), and Tinsel Korey (Into the West), 'Hybrid' tells the story of when a security dispatcher (Aaron Scates - Monteith) is blinded in an explosion, he's put in the care of Dr. Andrea Hewlitt (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Bateman.)
Famous in her field for spearheading extraordinary-though controversial-medical breakthroughs - her newest being cross-species organ transplants - Aaron turns out to be her very first human subject! When a severely wounded wolf is brought to Dr. Hewlitt's office by museum curator Lydia Armstrong (Korey), Dr. Hewlitt leaps on the opportunity and successfully transplants the wolf's eyes to Aaron-despite Lydia's objections.
Aaron, however, is thrilled. Not only can he see again, he can see in the dark. He also has an unusually acute sense of hearing, and tears into a raw steak like never before. Unfortunately, he also tends growl, and to target people as prey!
But Lydia, a fiery young Assiniboine woman who worked to save the wolfs life only to see it donated to Olaris Labs, tries to help Aaron when things start to go wrong after the transplant. But she finds that events are spinning out of control as the firm that put up the money for her research want Aaron for their own nefarious purposes. A race ensues to save Aaron from unscrupulous persons and from his newly grafted nature and it is only those who truly understand the powers at work inside Aaron’s soul who can truly help.
That all said, 'Hybrid' has its weaknesses beyond being a simplistic gore flick. In any TV movie cash is going to be tight and the purse strings need to be handled with care. Except for casting Justine Bateman in the role of Dr. Hewlitt, most of the rest of the cast are unknowns, and there is a reason for that - it doesn’t cost that much. Except for the performances of the lead roles, the acting in 'Hybrid' is pretty weak.
But, I’ve certainly seen worse, and I didn’t feel like laughing, but I did wince every now and then! Added to the insufficient acting quality was a screenplay that was swamped with overly simple and even awkward dialogue. Another weakness of this DVD is that there is a total lack of an extras menu. There is an auto-play medley of "Maneater" series trailers before the general menu and then the viewer has the option of “play movie” or “scene selections” ... and that is ALL! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come any Special Features.