Attack of the Werewolves Movie Review
Written and directed by Juan Martínez Moreno
2011, 98 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 8th October 2012
Carlos Areces as Calisto
Secun de la Rosa as Mario
Gorka Otxoa as Tomás Mariño
Mabel Rivera as Rosa
Luis Zahera as Guardia Civil
Manuel Manquiña as Evaristo
I could probably count on one hand, the genuinely good modern werewolf flicks out there. While zombies and vampires seem to remain timelessly hip, the wolfman has not fared so well in his cinematic exploits. There are some indisputable classics out there (An American Werewolf in London, The Howling) but most werewolf movies tend to stink like wet dog. I still have nightmares about Wes Craven's Cursed, and not in a good way.
It might have a title that sounds like an old Hammer horror, but Attack of the Werewolves is actually a modern comedy/horror from Spain, adoptive parent of the werewolf. It was Paul Naschy, the Spanish Lon Chaney, who popularised the werewolf, playing the monster a total of 16 times (and Christopher Lee thought he was typecast) in his 'El Hombre Lobo' films. Ignoring Benicio Del Toro's badly received Wolfman, it's with Attack of the Werewolves that the beast comes home.
Also coming home is rubbish novelist Tomas, who returns to his old family homestead in the little village of Galicia, where he hopes to get some writing done. As anyone who has ever read a Stephen King story will tell you, novelists moving to small villages will never get any work done but are always going to uncover some terrible evil or other. In this case, that evil is of the lupine variety.
Given the title, I had hoped that the werewolves of Attack of the Werewolves might do a little more actual attacking, but when they do arrive, they do so in force. The werewolf make-up isn't terrible, but where such creatures are concerned, less is usually more. There's not a single werewolf movie out there to benefit from giving its creatures prolonged screentime. The beasts here are most reminiscent of the ones seen in Dog Soldiers – a bit daft looking, but they do the job. At least you won't be laughing whenever they appear, which is more than we can say for some (I was nearly lynched by a cinema full of teenage girls for my incessant laughter at the wolves in Twilight). Unfortunately, you might not be laughing at the comedy either, which is regrettable. As is the case with many world movies, the humour fails to translate in places, being far too broad and goofy at times. It's the kind of comedy which relies on a cute dog looking sideways at the camera and making a silly noise as a punchline; the sort of thing I thought was thrown out years ago with Jim Carrey and The Mask.
Sit out the massive amounts of exposition, daft humour and dull filler scenes, and there are some pleasing moments of gore and carnage to be found. When the action finally kicks off, the film starts to live up to its title. A mass transformation scene (amusingly lit in a manner similar to Thriller) is genuinely impressive, as is one car chase and a bit with a throttled granny. There are even a few funny moments of black humour (said bit with the throttled granny) amongst the stupider jokes. Ultimately however, it comes too late to completely redeem the film. The action might be the dog's bollocks, but the pacing is its dinner.
Attack of the Werewolves is slow, unscary and not particularly funny. The final half an hour is very good, but the poor werewolf will have to wait a while longer for its day.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.