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Review: ‘Lycan’ recycles werewolf and horror formulas with little payoff

An indistinct muddle of werewolf mythology, slasher formula and “teenagers in the woods” clichés, the horror pastiche “Lycan” might’ve been a passable picture if writer-director Bev Land had settled on what he was making. While its DIY spirit is admirable, this tedious shocker feels like it was cobbled together from a kit.

“Lycan” has two things going for it. One is the star, Dania Ramirez (best-known for the cable soap “Devious Maids”), who plays Isabella, a moody college student working with a group of classmates to research a local legend about a murderous monster in the woods. The other characters who venture into the wilderness are more generic — the socialite, the nerd, the party animal, etc. — but Ramirez’s Isabella has a complexity and intensity that sets her apart.

The other fruitful decision Land and co-writer Michael Mordler make is to set the story in the mid-’80s, which is partly an homage to that era’s genre classics “Wolfen” and “An American Werewolf in London,” and partly an excuse to insert home-movie montages that looks as faded and scratched as old-fashioned drive-in cinema.

Otherwise, “Lycan” is frustratingly rote. The supernatural animal attacks are too rare, which means the bulk of the movie consists of poorly drawn stock characters, played by actors about a decade too old, bickering. Frankly, all of that barely merits a sniff, let alone a howl.

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‘Lycan’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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