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Nature of the Beast, on ABC Family
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Caution: spoilers.

I must have been aware of this when it first aired in 2007, but for some reason I didn't watch it. I don't recall if that was by choice or not. But whether I originally wanted to see it or not, I have long had at least a vague interest in it, mainly because Autumn Reeser was in it. And then one day in... I dunno, maybe late 2014 or early 2015... I saw a really cheap used DVD of it somewhere, so I bought it, and waited til October 2015 to watch it. It's got a supernatural/horror element to it, but it's mostly a romantic comedy. It was kind of corny, but I found it reasonably amusing.

So, Reeser plays a chef named Julia, who is engaged to a guy named Rich. Rich works at an animal shelter, and he's also supposedly writing a doctoral thesis. So once a month he goes away to a cabin in the woods, claiming he needs solitude to work on his thesis. Julia's friend and coworker, Leslie, suspects Rich is actually cheating on her, though Julia trusts him. However, viewers immediately learn he actually goes there to chain himself up during full moons, because he is a werewolf, and he doesn't want to hurt anyone. And this is a secret he has not shared with Julia. Then one day he finds out that some wedding-related thing he thought they were supposed to do on the 27th was actually on the 21st, when there'll be another full moon. So he tries to get out of it, but he can't. So he has to go with Julia to meet her family (he'd already met her parents before, and her father seems to disapprove of him, but there were now several other relatives Rich would be meeting for the first time). Anyway, he brings bottles of wolfsbane and other special herbs, which are supposed to keep him from transforming. But a couple of Julia's cousins, Garrett and Noel, find the bottles and steal them, thinking they're drugs. That night, Julia's family goes out hunting for mushrooms, which is apparently some kind of tradition they have. (Garrett and Noel go out in the woods and try to get high from the "drugs" they'd stolen.) Rich stays behind and, finding his herbs are missing, tries to handcuff himself to something. But when he transforms he immediately breaks free, and heads out into the woods. He menaces a few of Julia's relatives, before her father shoots him in the leg. The werewolf then runs away, but is later found by Julia, who sees him transform back into Rich.

So, after that she is upset about his being a werewolf, of course, and about his not having told her about it. But he explains how it happened, and we see in flashback one night when he was in college, he and a couple of friends were attacked by a werewolf. One of his friends was killed, and Rich himself was bitten. Anyway, he says he's learned to deal with it, and hopes Julia will be able to live with what he is. But she wants to find a way to cure him, so she does some research on the internet. She discovers an expert on the supernatural, a former priest named Dr. Moffat Chamberlain (Julian Richings), and decides to seek his advice on how to deal with Rich's problem. It turns out he's currently in prison for mutilating corpses (which were ostensibly vampires, I guess), a fact that doesn't instill confidence in Rich. When he tells them to shoot the werewolf with a silver bullet, Rich leaves before Chamberlain can finish explaining things to them. (I assumed Chamberlain meant shoot the werewolf that had bitten him, since I am not completely unfamiliar with werewolf lore, but Rich assumed he meant to shoot him. It does seem odd to me that Rich would have previously done enough research to learn about things like wolfsbane, as well as the warding necklace he had given Julia to protect her before she ever learned the truth about him, but somehow hadn't come across that bit of lore. But whatever.) Anyway, in spite of his initial trepidation, Rich eventually decides to shoot himself, in order to ensure he would never hurt Julia. So he goes to a gun store to buy a gun and silver bullets... and the salesman immediately realized he was planning on hunting a werewolf, and asked whether he was going after an "Alpha" or a "Beta." This led Rich to actually read a book written by Chamberlain, so he finally realized the wolf that had bitten him was an Alpha, and if it was killed, any Betas it had created (like Rich) would be cured, as long as they had never taken a human life (which Rich hadn't). So he decides to track down the Alpha that bit him.

Meanwhile, there's a tabloid journalist named Archer, who is married to Julia's cousin Melanie. Rich had attacked him during the mushroom hunt, and he later figured out that Rich was a werewolf. So he's been trying to prove it, to do a news story on his show that he believes would garner him global fame. And um, Leslie finds out about Rich, but agrees to help Julia and Rich keep his secret. Anyway, eventually Rich figures out the identity of the Alpha werewolf, but the Alpha figures out that Rich wants to kill him, and takes steps to prevent it. He's much more powerful than a Beta like Rich, and tries to get Rich to kill Julia or one of her relatives. And... of course there's ultimately a happy ending, with Rich and especially Julia being pretty heroic. And then they get married.

I feel like I've spoiled way too much. But it really is a fun and amusing movie, and I'm glad I finally saw it. Oh... and the thing that amused me the most is this line by Melanie, and the pose/face she makes:

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