Attack of the Werewolves (2011)
Director: Juan Martinez Moreno
Cast: Gorka Otxoa, Carlos Areces, Secun de la Rosa
Synopsis: After 15 years, Tomas, a not very succesfull writer, comes back to the village in Galicia where his family comes from, Arga, apparently to get an award. But he doesn’t know the real reason …
Director Juan Martinez Moreno must have known that his comedy horror movie Attack of the Werewolves would be compared to An American Werewolf in London, John Landis’s seminal 1980s horror movie, so it shows a measure of self-confidence on his part that he even went ahead and made the movie in the first place. After all, there aren’t that many successful comedy horror movies, so to tilt your hat at probably the best of them all takes some nerve. It really shouldn’t work when you think about it: a bunch of guys in fur-covered onesies chasing a trio of hapless heroes who trade mostly corny quips in a foreign language, but Attack of the Werewolves has such an enthusiasm for its subject and such a big heart that you almost end up liking it despite yourself.
Gorka Otxoa plays Tomas Marino, an author who finds nothing out of the ordinary about being invited to return to his old home to receive the keys to the village, even though his sole published book was read by hardly anyone. In the terrific opening credits, during which the camera roams over a series of comic-strip style artwork, a narrator fills us in on the back story. A hundred years before the events in the movie take place, the village’s baroness, desperate to get pregnant, pretty much raped a gypsy. When she did become pregnant as a result, she didn’t want the child’s male parentage to become known and had all the gypsy’s killed. However, one of them managed to reel off a curse just before dying and, at the age of ten, the baroness’s son turned into a werewolf whenever the moon was full. It turns out that the only way of dispelling the curse is to have the werewolf eat a direct descendent of the Baroness on the hundredth anniversary of its being placed, which is where Tomas comes in.
Attack of the Werewolves takes a while to get going, and once it is up to full speed it’s a bit like a vehicle that speeds along at a tremendous pace despite spluttering and misfiring. Tomas hooks up with his old childhood friend, Calixto (Carlos Areces), and is then joined by his annoying publisher (Secun de la Rosa), and successfully avoids becoming a sacrifice to the werewolf, but this triggers a second curse which places them in even further danger. But they meet each new peril with a kind of panicked resourcefulness which unfortunately sees Tomas lose two of his fingers and one of his friends an arm.
Attack of the Werewolves is one of those movies that refuses to take itself seriously, and therefore also prevents the viewer from doing so. It’s use of traditional special effects rather than CGI give it a quaint cobbled together feel which makes it impossible to dislike, even though a good percentage of its jokes either fall flat or get lost in translation. The ones that do work are often laugh out loud funny, though, in particular the entire episode regarding Tomas’s finger.