Attack of the Werewolves (2011)
By: Devon B. on August 13, 2013 | Comments
Kaleidoscope Entertainment | Region B | 2.35:1, 1080p | Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 | 102 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Juan Martinez Moreno
Starring: Gorka Otxoa, Carlos Arces, Mabel Rivera, Secun de la Rosa, Mabel Rivera
Screenplay: Juan Martinez Moreno
Country: Spain
External Links
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It seems like nowadays that any horror movie with a single joke in it, or any comedy with a hint of anything horrifying, is referred to as the next Shaun of the Dead or it's labeled as blah blah blah meets Shaun of the Dead. I hate this trend. Shaun was an incredibly clever, well constructed film, and the reality is that the only thing that comes close to it in terms of quality is Hot Fuzz. This pattern is even more irksome with Attack of the Werewolves, because there's a much better comparison – people seem to forget that a few years before Shaun there was an incredibly funny werewolf movie called Dog Soldiers. I readily admit it wasn't of the same overall calibre of Shaun thanks to a bizarre plotting element, but Dog Soldiers was a damn fine effort, and a better point of reference for a movie with werewolves. Except that I guess Dog Soldiers was a funny horror movie, and Shaun of the Dead was a comedy with zombies, and in that regard Attack of the Werewolves is more like Shaun because in the end it is a comedy. So, I'm pleased to announce that Attack of the Werewolves is Shaun of the Dead meets El Hombre Lobo!

Attack of the Werewolves begins with about 900 co-production company logos, but eventually the viewer will be rewarded for exceptional patience with a confusing title card. I say confusing because the movie is clearly called Lobos de Arga, and even a person whose entire knowledge of the Spanish language consists of having walked past an empanada shop once should be able to tell that title translates to "Wolves of Arga." Attention seeking retitling has struck again.

The story starts in comic book format, showing that in the past a Marchioness raped a gypsy man in order to fall pregnant. The cruel woman then slaughtered his group, so she falls victim to a gypsy curse which turns her son into an Hombre Lobo. Centuries later and an author returns to his familial home. He's having trouble setting up his book, but is reconnecting with the eccentric locals. The childhood surroundings rekindle memories of his superstitious upbringing, but it seems the locals don't think it's merely superstition, and they may have good reason.

I've compared Lobos de Arga to a few great movies, but story wise the thing it reminded me most of was Monster Dog, which is pretty tragic. Luckily it's about 8 million times better than that stupid Alice Cooper movie. Of course, a big concern for a lot of viewers will be the werewolves themselves, and they look far better than everything in Monster Dog. Thanks to Paul Naschy there have been a lot of Spanish werewolf movies where the werewolf makeup was shithouse, but I was glad to see the werewolves are much better done in Lobos de Arga. Fans of Naschy's makeups will be pleased, too, because the werewolf design has clearly drawn a bit of influence from the sleazy, drooly nature of Naschy's Hombre Lobo. There are some moments where the werewolves appear to fly rather than jump, but otherwise the werewolf FX look good, and I'd far rather the werewolves look weightless here and there because of some wirework than have all the practical FX of the film replaced with CG.

Lobos de Arga does have werewolves and some violence, but it is first and foremost a comedy, and a very funny one at that. Some of the gags are dampened by the language barrier, and some of the gags seem like they'd be using very broad humour even without subtitles, but there are quite a few incredibly well timed jokes. The comic book intro gives the film an immediate sense of style, and includes some pencil and ink titillation for those interested, but the film does slow down and get less flashy once this sequence is done. It did take a little while to build up its situations, but the payoff was well and truly worth it, and even in the early scenes there were still interesting and amusing things happening.

I always have trouble reviewing comedies because for me they boil down to either funny or not funny, so before I fleshed it out my initial review simply read, "Lobos de Arga is very, very funny." I guess that about says it all.
The Disc
Lobos de Arga looks clear and sharp, but there are some muted colours that prevent the print from popping. This may well have been intentional, because other than a tiny bit of edge enhancement this transfer seems really solid. The audio is available in Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio or LPCM 2.0 tracks. The 2.0 seemed fine, but doesn't compete with the 5.1. It does take awhile for the track to get going as the movie is setting things up, but the track springs to life when appropriate and is well designed, and the werewolf growls have an enjoyable intensity. The score builds nicely and there're some great moments like the sound of being pursued down a tunnel by a werewolf, but the movie is primarily a comedy, so the overall sound experience reflects that. The disc's extras are rather sparse. There's a trailer for the disappointing Strippers vs Werewolves that plays on start up, but other than that there's just an unsubtitled trailer for Lobos de Arga, or if it has subtitles they weren't coming up for me. I would be let down by this except the Blu-ray comes in a nifty lenticular cover slipcase, which will provide me with far more hours of entertainment than a making of could.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Lobos de Arga is so entertaining that I even feel the need to share it with non-genre fans, and I particularly recommend it to fans of Spanish werewolf comedies. This Blu-ray is not the most amazing Blu-ray ever, but the movie itself is well presented, which is the bit I care most about.
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