Monday, October 29, 2012

Toronto After Dark Review: Game of Werewolves


Prior to the screening of his latest film, Game of Werewolves, director Juan Martinez Moreno mentioned in his introduction that he simply wanted to make a film that was pure fun and nothing more. It is safe to say that Moreno achieved his objective in spades with his delightful film that harkens back to both classic creature feature films and the works of Peter Jackson and Joe Dante.

Many years ago an evil queen was desperate for an heir. After her frequently cuckold husband could not provide her a child, the queen forces herself on man who is part of a traveling gypsy group. Discovering that she has become pregnant, and not wanting the baby’s true lineage to be known, the queen orders that all the gypsies be killed. However, before the last of the gypsies is killed, a curse is placed on the queen in which the baby will turn into a werewolf at the age of ten years old.

Now, almost a hundred years later to the day, Tomás Marino (Gorka Otxoa), a descendant of the queen returns to his hometown for the first time since he was a boy. Tomás believes the villagers are planning to give him an award for becoming a moderately successful author. Little does he know that the villagers are planning to sacrifice him to the werewolf trapped in a barn. According to legend the only thing that will end the curse that has plagued the village is if a werewolf eats someone of the queen’s bloodline. Tomás , along with his childhood friend Calisto (The Last Circus’ Carlos Areces), and his editor Mario (Secun de la Rosa), scramble to stay alive while trying to unlock the key to breaking the curse.

Game of Werewolves is a horror comedy that is more comedy than horror. There are several great gags that keep the film moving at a brisk pace. One of the standout comedic moments involves a severed finger and Tomás’ pet dog. While an amusing film, Juan Martinez Moreno is more concerned with paying homage to classic genre filmmaking. Moreno forgoes relying on CGI like most modern films and opts for old time tricks. This includes using actors in full werewolf costumes and using prosthetics during the transformation sequences. Even the action in the film has a classic feel as Moreno attaches his actors to wires instead of using computer created figures which often move unrealistically.

Though the plot is nothing that you have not seen before, there is enough energy and charm in Game of Werewolves to satisfy all those looking for fun way to kill a few hours. It is a film that will make you nostalgic for an era when filmmakers did not solely rely on expensive computer effects to entertain audiences. A crowd pleaser from beginning to end, Game of Werewolves delivers on Moreno’s promise.

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