Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Cinema File #176: "Lobos De Arga (AKA Attack of the Werewolves)" Review

I rarely see or review that many foreign films outside of the occasional Kung Fu or Superhero movie, but after watching the disappointingly bland Love Bite, I needed a good werewolf movie to cleanse my palette, and since I decided to do an impromptu trilogy of classic movie monster movies, I figured now was the perfect time to try again. Lobos Del Arga, a Spanish horror comedy called Attack Of The Werewolves (or Game of Werewolves) in America, was the first one I found, and one that I had heard good things about, so I decided to give it a shot. While its by no means a classic of the genre, I was mostly satisfied with the result, my admittedly low expectations easily met.

The story follows a struggling author invited back to his childhood village for a festival in his honor, only to run afoul of an ancient family curse that eventually finds him on the run from an army of murderous werewolves. The first thing most American viewers without an appreciation for classic horror will have to get past is the design of the monsters. These are old school Wolf Man style werewolves we're talking about here, with a lot of practical effects over CGI, which as I've said before I personally prefer, but some might find it a bit dated or even hokey.

The real draw of the film is the comedic chemistry between a trio of unlikely heroes, all of whom are effectively cowards thrust into heroic circumstances against their will. Two of these characters start out as friends and put me in mind of a Spanish Simon Pegg and Nic Frost, only with more alcoholism and sheep fucking. Unfortunately, the film has a tendency to add new characters way too late into the process, introducing an elderly woman and a cop for instance who have pretty much no bearing on the plot beyond rescuing our main group from a completely contrived life threatening moment.

Though it starts off a bit slow, it picks up about a third of the way through once the supernatural elements are revealed, allowing for among other things a very clever deconstruction of horror movie tropes. A conversation among torch wielding villagers about the logistics of a double curse, only coming into effect if a prior curse isn't broken by a certain time, was very funny, and an extended sequence involving the question of just how much flesh is required to constitute a human sacrifice (i.e. will a finger do?) leads to some increasingly dark humor. Once the wolves come out in full force the comedy takes a backseat to the action, which probably could have been better, but by that point you're either on board or you're not.

Overall, Lobos Del Arga is a fun throwback to the kinds of 80's horror comedies that I grew up with and loved, and any fan of that era of film will probably get a kick out of this just as I did. Its a bit scatter shot, but when its good, its really good, and I'd say the good outweighs the bad in the end by a wide margin. It is subtitled obviously, so if that's an issue, there's no reason to bother, but if you don't mind a little light reading along with your lycanthropy, I say give this one a chance.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...