Fantasia 2012: It’s all fun and games in ‘Game of Werewolves’
Game of Werewolves
Directed by Juan Martinez Moreno
Written by Juan Martinez Moreno
Ah, the classic werewolf creature. It is one of the vintage, most fondly remembered beasts made famous by Universal Studios back in the earlier days when cinema was but in its infancy. The first classic actor to portray the role? Lon Chaney Jr., whose performance, both with and without makeup, has remained etched in the memories of monster movie fans old and young. Since then, the werewolf’s cinematic record is spotty at best. For every The Wolf Man is a Wolfman (2010, Joe Johnston). For every American Werewolf in London, there is an American Werewolf in Paris. Is the creature that limiting as a storytelling device? Perhaps, but blessed be the filmmakers who come along and create what proves to be one of the successes, among them Spaniard Juan Martinez Moreno with his latest, Game of Werewolves.
Tomàs Marino (Gorka Otxoa) considers himself a celebrity, although he would have a world of difficulty convincing many other people. An author, he is struggling to come up with ideas for his second novel, the first having quickly been forgotten in the minds of the public, at least among the few who actually read it as his grandmother (Mabel Rivera) reminds him over the phone at the start of the picture. Tomàs is on his way back to the small village where he grew up, Arga, far outside any of Spain’s metropolis, Madrid. The plan is to take refuge in the family’s old estate, be quiet for a few weeks or months and start writing again. Much to his surprise, his old buddy Calisto (Carlos Areces) awaits him for a warm welcome. Among other surprises is the arrival of his publisher, Mario (Secun de la Rosa), a wily, spirited man who seems just as desperate to make a buck with what he hopes will be Tomàs’ next book, as well as a re-acquaintance with his uncle, the village priest. The latter invites Tomàs for a special ceremony involving the bringing in of a new mayor, but that, in truth, hides yet another unexpected twist. On the day of the celebration, both Tomàs and Mario, because the latter is a witness, are knocked out cold and brought to a decrepit old church where the townsfolk, as Tomàs’s uncle explains, are to finally rid themselves of the curse of the werewolf which has plagued Arga for 100 years to the day. If the beast eats the flesh of a Marino, then Arga is freed of the monster’s reign of terror. Not exactly the creative thinking process the author had in mind…