Werewolves have always been the more physically complicated of the movie monsters. Though CGI has solved this issue to some extent, an unconvincing wolf could nullify an entire picture. Moreover, the mythology is constantly changed to include some things, ignore others, but the transformation is key. Fortunately, Toronto After Dark
's closing night gala, Game of Werewolves
, gets it all right.
After 15 years, Tomas (Gorka Otxoa) receives an invitation to return to his home town to receive an award. His writing career never really took off, but maybe the trip will be the inspiring confidence booster he needs to get started. So Tomas and a group of friends head to Galicia. Unfortunately there is no award waiting for him when they arrive. Tomas has been lured back to end a curse that has haunted the village for a hundred years.
Writer/director Juan Martínez Moreno creates a great balance between comedy and horror. The werewolf attacks are sufficiently scary, harking back to the old school style of Universal monster movies. On the flip side the characters are entertaining, delivering countless wisecracks and lightening dark situations with a humor reminiscent of the Cuban zombie movie Juan of the Dead
Aesthetically, the wolves look fantastic. All the effects were done practically through hours of make-up and prosthetics. This gives it a realness that can't be achieved through CGI. In addition, the acrobatic stunts were performed via wires and careful planning so they actually exist within the scene.
The origin story is intriguingly different than those presented previously. In brief, a promiscuous woman unable to provide a royal heir is cursed and gives birth to a werewolf. This tale is shown in full within the narrative, providing an excellent contrast from the main storyline. Another significant change is that the werewolves are more vulnerable, able to be killed by any regular means – not just silver bullets.
Though more funny than frightening, this movie is an enjoyable throwback with modern twists.
Director: Juan Martínez Moreno
Starring: Gorka Otxoa
, Carlos Areces
and Secun de la Rosa