Attack of the Werewolves (2012)

A brief and demented history lesson at the beginning of Attack of the Werewolves tells of a gypsy curse heaped on the Spanish town of Arga, where the Marchioness’s son is turned into werewolf when he turns ten. Why? Because the Marchioness raped a gypsy knifethrower in order to get pregnant… then killed him and his entire family. Lovely lady.

This history lesson happens in some (rather raunchy) drawn panels and then – BLAM! – we’re in present day Galicia and crap novelist Tomas Marino (Gorka Otxoa) is moving into his old family home… in Arga.

The country village is horribly isolated with a rubbish telephone exchange, bags of superstition and a priest who is also the mayor (and Tomas’s uncle!). Like most writers, Tomas instantly sets about procrastinating like a idiot, playing with his dog, meeting his uncle and buggering about in the local pub instead of doing any writing.

He quickly realizes he’s somewhat of a minor celebrity in Arga, but not because of his crappy books. His blood is the key to lifting the curse that has befallen Arga for 100 years… so the villagers kidnap and dump him in some catacombs, as prey for the beast below.

Arga has been haunted by an evil werewolf for decades, but the curse decrees an even worse fate will befall the townsfolk if Tomas – a male descendant of the evil Marchioness – isn’t killed by the beast exactly 100 years after it was made. Tonight’s the anniversary, which is bad news for Tomas, his best friend and his idiotic agent.

But can he escape the beast? And if he does, what will happen to the town?

Originally titled Lobos del Arga and also known as Game of Werewolves (for some insane reason) the title of Attack of the Werewolves gives a suggestion of ball-to-the-walls insane werewolf action, but Attack of the Werewolves is essentially a charmingly funny horror-comedy – punctuated with violence – and all the better for it. If you can cope with subtitles then you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.
Director / writer Juan Martínez Moreno’s script is surprisingly sharp, with some decent characterisations and ace dialogue, which is useful because the beginning of Attack of the Werewolves is very exposition-heavy. Once it gets into the action, however, it is significantly hit ‘n’ miss with some decent kills mixed with some slow ones.

The strongest elements of Attack of the Werewolves come from the comedic moments – like when they use a decimated corpse as a rope-ladder and throw in a severed finger gag that had me laughing-out-loud – and these moments work fantastically well. It is genuinely very funny.

How about the werewolves? Are they An American Werewolf in London awesome or Strippers vs Werewolves embarrassingly lazy? Luckily they’re not terrible, but like most werewolf movies less is always more, and when you see them in full it always looks like a bloke dressed in a rug…

Luckily the werewolves are both insanely vicious and not CGI, which is surprisingly refreshing after having watched all the Underworld films and The Wolfman remake in recent years. Yeah, the lycanthropes look a bit silly in Attack of the Werewolves but they’re never laughably bad.

Perhaps one of the only off-kilter things about Attack of the Werewolves is Tomas’s superdog Vito, who seems to understand perfect English and acts like a tiny (and quite possibly psychic) Lassie. For a comedy it almost works, but it’s perhaps a step too far into the realms of ridiculous.

Tragically Attack of the Werewolves is also about 10 minutes too long, with an epilogue that is exceptionally unnecessary. We’re just fortunate that the preceding 88 minutes or so are genuinely enjoyable, with great performances from everyone involved.

Attack of the Werewolves is a wonderfully enjoyable horror-comedy that is charming and surprisingly vicious in places. Heads fly, werewolves explode and someone cooks up a pinky finger for a child. Good times! Despite being a little over-long, Attack of the Werewolves is certainly worth a watch.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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