Movie Review – Game of Werewolves

This week there’s the Night Visions festival. As usual, I got tickets to see just one film, as they are all horror and I’m one of those people who doesn’t sleep for a week after a scary movie. Previously I’ve seen Kick-Ass and Sucker Punch at this very festival.

This year it was a little different. Lobos de Arga (Eng. Game of Werewolves, 2011) isn’t a big budget CGI and stunts galore. It’s a low budget, Spanish horror comedy. It’s about this guy Tomás (Gorka Otxoa) who goes back to the little village he was born in, invited by the villagers. He thinks he’ll have a good time, and maybe even write his second novel! But things aren’t exactly as he thought they would be. There’s a curse on the village he wasn’t aware of, and breaking it… Well.

It was so much fun. It’s not very scary, although the effects are surprisingly good. I was ever so sceptical after seeing the trailer (“Oh gods, what have I promised to go and watch?”) but I was pretty much solidly entertained throughout. The opening sequence was absolutely beautiful, and although it takes a minute for the movie to really pick up after it, it’s worth the wait. At times wandering in dark (or, now that I think about it, not so dark) places took a little too long and at least for me the tension didn’t quite last, but hey, that happened like what, twice?

I’d say it’s more fun with genre than an actual horror movie. I don’t get scared by werewolves in general (for some reason – I’m scared of just about everything else) so it’s a little hard to judge, but with a tight budget, the make-up and such can be only so good. I’m not saying they weren’t good! They were very adequate and a positive surprise.

And the music. So good. I noticed some in the audience actually dancing a little in their seats.

The director, Juan Martínez Moreno, was a special quest at the show, and both introduced the movie and answered questions afterwards. He was an awesome guy, very funny – he told us about how frustrating the dog they used in the movie was – and very humble and down to earth. He also had some soundtracks of the film with him, and handed them out to those who could correctly answer questions about werewolf films. I’m a little disappointed with myself, as I’d seen the movies but couldn’t for the life of me remember directors, script writers or even the main actors…

If you get the chance, go and see it! I promise you entertainment. I’d also like to see this movie supported more. It has gotten some prizes around Europe, but it could have more. I don’t mean it’s the best film I’ve seen all year (The Hobbit is still not out yet!) but it’s rare that I’m so thoroughly pleased and content afterwards.

If there’s a detail that bothered me, it’s that there was a full moon on two consecutive nights. I’m not all sure that can be. If I got it right, the moon wasn’t exactly the trigger, but it was there, and therefore I noticed it.

I didn’t find the trailer with English subtitles, so we’ll have to make do with the one where no one talks. Sorry about that.

Lobos de Arga (2011)

Director: Juan Martínez Moreno

Starring: Gorka Otxoa, Secun de la Rosa, Carlos Areces, Manuel Manquiña


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