Based on writer and artist Ben Templesmith’s comic book mini-series, Welcome to Hoxford has a simple, brilliant premise: a bunch of utterly deranged prisoners must battle werewolves who secretly run the private prison they’ve just been transferred to.
The original four issue series features a whole host of prisoners, a concerned doctor to the main character and a secondary werewolf usurpation plot.
Script writer Samuel Bodin strips a lot of this out for director Julien Mokrani’s adaptation of the film, retaining only the central prisoner Raymond Delgado (Jason Flemyng) and Morton (Dexter Fletcher) as the prisoners against the werewolves.
Given those two actors alone the film has stellar assets, far beyond most fan films.Flemyng is great as Raymond, playing the perp as a slightly less unhinged but still very much mental version of the literary character. He’s great as a murderer with a catalogue of psychoses, most notably a god delusion, marking himself as a front runner for any feature length adaption.
The film mostly exists on its visuals however, and it looks absolutely stunning. The look is somewhere between the Sin City and 300 Frank Millar adaptations with some inventive and superbly realised CGI representing the Cthulu-esque chaos erupting in Raymond’s mind. Their burning, molten colours contrast against the cold greys and blues of the prison, and despite the tentacle horns and onyx lion it encapsulates how this warm, colourful madness seems more inviting and comfortable than the sterile concrete and bars.
The story doesn’t really go anywhere, the film feels like a pitch for a feature as much a short in its own right. The comic, to be fair, is more about the visuals, mood and ideas than the story which is just there to facilitate them. The film does the same, and that’s OK.
Follow @RJBayley on Twitter