Attack of the Werewolves15
After the success of Shaun of the Dead there's been a whole walking dead army of parody zombie films, most of which have been dead un-funny.
Comedies featuring other fabled characters seem to be less popular – werewolves, for instance; other than Michael J Fox as the Teen Wolf in 1985, fun werewolf flicks have been thin on the ground.
This then is not only a welcome entry into the small collection of amusing Lycanthropic films, but is also from a surprising source – Spain.
Having written one, fairly unsuccessful book, Thomas Marino (Gorka Otxoa) is return to Arga, the village where he grew up. He hopes that being there will provide the inspiration he needs, and spark his creativity in writing a book about his roots.
And because he's a bit of a local celebrity, the town are going to honour his return with the key to the village. Or so he thinks. Unfortunately for him, they have other plans.
Unbeknownst to him, the village is under the spell of an evil curse that has a werewolf trapped in their community.
Legend has it that, nearly a hundred years ago, an evil marchioness had her way with a local gypsy. After she fell pregnant with his child, she decided to kill him and all the other men in the village.
In return, a gypsy placed a curse on her son; on his tenth birthday he will turn into a werewolf. He will then live for a hundred years, with the only way to break the spell, is for the werewolf to eat a member of the Marino family. If a Marino isn't eaten within the 100 year time span, an even worse curse will befall the village.
When Thomas doesn't get the key to the village as promised, he begins to work out that he's there under false pretences. What he doesn't realise is that the villagers have him down as the main course for their captive beast.
Although the cover of this film looks dark and moody, it's about as menacing as a dog licking your face. Its silly humour is in a similar vein, as it were, to Roman Polanski's 1967 comedy Dance of the Vampire. And director Juan Martínez Moreno (who may well be Spanish himself) takes his subject matter just as seriously.
His film, which he also wrote, is full to the brim with fun, little one-liners and visual jokes. The camaraderie that the main cast share throughout is reminiscent to that Pegg & Frost and co shared in Shaun. Perhaps one or two of the gags may get lost in translation, but for the most part, it all works remarkably well.
It's not clear if the werewolves themselves are supposed to be intentionally funny, but as they look like men zipped into hairy onesies, it's difficult to take them anywhere close to seriously.
Moreno gets a lot of humour out of his story as well as his cast, including yet another great performance from a canine; at this rate, there will come a day when all films will star dogs, with maybe the odd supporting human roles.
Considering how many bland and mediocre comedies come out of the US, it's great to see a European film with so much comedic bite.