Thursday, June 7, 2012

Game of Werewolves aka Lobos de Arga (SIFF 2012) Movie Review

Spanish film maker Juan Martínez Moreno did not set out to parody or make fun of the horror movie genre although a movie that combines scares with comedy can easily be viewed in that light. "Lobos de Arga", known as "Game of Werewolves" in the United States, successfully pulls off a beastly film that provides just the right amount of scares and laughter to keep fans of both genres happy.

Tomas (Gorka Otxoa) is a struggling writer who returns to Arga, the small village where he grew up, in hopes of affecting a change that might inspire his floundering career. Little does he know that an ancient family curse will change his life in ways that he never imagined.

The residents of Arga have managed to protect their home from outsiders while keeping the curse a secret for generations and, not that Tomas is in town, they have a plan that might end their suffering forever. To tell much more of the story would give away a lot of the twists and turns that make this movie enjoyable.

Just know that there are lot of laughs, lots of scares, and tons of werewolf action throughout the movie. The special effects are mostly practical so you get that old school creature feature vibe like a John Carpenter movie and not the fake looking CGI of more recent offerings.

The acting is spot on for this type of movie and you could tell that everyone was having a great time making such a smart and witty film. I especially liked the character simply titled Guardia Civil (Luis Zahera) who, despite the director's denials during a post movie Q&A, seemed to have some previous experience in dealing with the supernatural.

Movies like this one often fall in to the trap of realizing that, after starting off with a series of hilarious gags and intense action, an actual story needs to be told so the things that make them good at the start are forgotten and the magic fades away until nothing is left but shattered expectations by the time the credits roll.

"Lobos De Arga" has no such flaws as the pacing keeps things moving right along and there is a prefect blend of all the key ingredients that make it a special experience from beginning to end.

All of this has lead to the movie becoming a film festival favorite and is sure to gain momentum as more and more people get to see this soon to be classic entry in to the horror/comedy genre.

The only trailers available that I could embed do not contain subtitles. CLICK HERE to visit the "Game of Werewolves" page on the SIFF website which does feature a subtitled trailer and other info.

Check out my other 2012 SIFF reviews HERE!

Post screening Q&A with director Juan Martínez Moreno.

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