Lobos De Arga (2011)
FEATURE, FILM REVIEWS — BY KEVIN MATTHEWS ON APRIL 2, 2012 AT 8:00 AM
AKA Game Of Werewolves (IMDb) AKA Attack Of The Werewolves (UK release title).
There’s no point in beating about the bush with a movie like this. It’s the best werewolf movie to have been released in years and it’s one of the best comedy horrors that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing with no advance word of mouth. Lobos De Arga is THAT good. There are very few films that I wholeheartedly recommend without reservation but I tell you now . . . . . . . if you don’t see this film and immediately love it then I’m not sure we will ever have a shared opinion on anything ever again. It’s one of those movies that you end up silently using as a measure of your friends (oh you know that you browse the shelves and use every movie and CD that you see to judge, don’t try and deny it).
The story centres on a 100 year old curse of lycanthropy that has affected a small Spanish village. Tomas (Gorka Otxoa) is blissfully unaware of this as he heads home to be honoured by the villagers after his modest writing success. Well, VERY modest writing success. Or Very modest writing work. Unfortunately for Tomas, all of the villagers will do whatever it takes to get rid of the curse and that may not bode well for Tomas. He has his lovely, loyal dog named Vito to keep him company while he tries to find out just what will happen when he’s honoured. There’s also his estranged friend Calixto (Carlos Areces) being a bit cagey while the main plotline starts to unfold.
It would be a lazy, lazy reviewer indeed who would try to sum up this movie just by calling it Shaun Of The Dead with werewolves. So I’ll try to bite my tongue. Yet the comparison is warranted for a number of reasons. There are pretty perfect performances from absolutely everyone involved (Otxoa, Areces and Secun de la Rosa), a script full of wit and energy, a number of affectionate references to the horror genre classics of the past and some fantastic running gags. Throw in a canine performance to rival that of Uggie in The Artist and there’s nothing here to dislike.
Writer/director Juan Martinez Moreno deserves major kudos for creating an instant modern classic that blends horror, comedy, great practical effects and elements of almost every notable werewolf “type” from over the years – yes, this covers the classic Universal style easily but also touches base, inevitably, with An American Werewolf In London (my favourite werewolf movie of all time and one of my favourite movies, period) and even feels like a step along from the great Dog Soldiers. I always think it’s slightly insulting to call someone “the new *insert name here*” so rather than try to convey how fantastic the talent on display here is by referring to Juan Martinez Moreno as the new John Landis or Joe Dante or Fred Dekker I shall simply say that Juan Martinez Moreno will please MANY horror fans by simply being Juan Martinez Moreno. Trust me, that’s the only name you need to remember. I cannot wait to see this released to a wider audience and I cannot wait to see what Mr. Moreno has lined up for audiences with his next movie.
It's on HBO On Demand and HBO Go this month. Worth your time if you like werewolves and good movies.