Lobos de Arga (2011)

Rating: C+

Dir: Juan Martínez Moreno
Star: Gorka Otxoa, Carlos Areces, Secun de la Rosa, Manuel Manquiña
a.k.a. Game of Werewolves

A century ago in a rural Spanish village, the local countess incurs a curse after having sex with a gypsy, then killing him and his family. The baby which resulted turns, at age 10, into a werewolf and has spent much of the time since ravaging the area, until the local trapped it beneath the local church. However, to permanently end the curse, they need to feed it a blood descendant of the countess on the 100th anniversary of its conception, or else an even worse fate will befall the village. Fortunately, Tomas (Otxoa) fits the familial bill, and has just arrived in the village where he grew up, with the aim of writing a novel. He meets childhood friend Calisto (Areces), little knowing what fate and the locals have in store for them. And even if he manages to avoid becoming werelunch, what will that mean for the other inhabitants and the curse?

The Spanish title, translating as the fairly bland, “Wolves of Arga” has been wered-up for foreign markets, to either Attack of the Werewolves in the UK or, inexplicably, Game of Werewolves in the US. I’m surprised they didn’t go for anything like Juan of the Werewolves, because that’s perhaps the closest vibe – an ordinary guy and his slobbish mate, who suddenly has to cope with an extraordinary supernatural threat. It’s nowhere near as well done, and tends to hover nearer gently amusing: I wonder if the subtitling left something to be desired, as Chris laughed significantly more often than me. There is one great scene, where Tomas’s friends come up with a solution to the problem: let’s just say, with friends like that, you don’t need enemies. The rest isn’t up to the same standard though it’s nice to see a movie largely done with practical effects, though the wirework is pretty bad, looking like something out of Cirque du Werewolf. Hey, maybe that’s another alternate title they could use somewhere?