Lobos de Arga has many names. Game of Werewolves in the USA, Party of Wolves in the UK and Attack of the Werewolves at LOVEFILM. Regardless of what name you watch it under, Lobos is the best film I’ve seen in a long damn time.
Lobos de Arga is to the Werewolf genre what Shaun of the Dead was to the Zombie genre. I am not saying this lightly. A lot of other films since Shaun was released have claimed to be the next Shaun of the Dead, but these pretenders to the crown are nowhere near as original, witty or even just damned funny as the Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright trio.
Written and directed by Juan Martínez Moreno (A Good Man, Dos tipos duros) this is Moreno’s first venture into feature length horror/comedy. He pulls it off faultlessly and using the strong strokes of a master he manages to tread the fine line required for comedic horror to work.
The film opens with a narrator relating the story of the Marino’s and the village of Arga. With graphic novel type illustrations to accompany the narration, we learn of the Marchioness Marino whose husband cannot get her pregnant, she takes on a string of lovers but to no avail. Then a Romany gypsy band of performers come to the village. The Marchioness kidnaps a male gypsy she fancies and forces him to have sex with her. When she falls pregnant by him, she proceeds to murder the entire clan of to keep her secret safe.
When the last female gypsy is dying, the wife of the man who the Marchioness used, she curses the Marino bloodline. Nine months later the Marchioness gives birth to her bastard son who is hale and hearty. Everything goes well until the boy reaches ten years of age. On that day the curse takes effect and the boy becomes a werewolf with the village of Arga paying the price.
We then meet Tomas Marino (Gorka Otxoa) a first time novelist who is the last male descendant of the Marino clan. He is on his way to the village of Arga where he lived until the age of 15. He is now going back to receive an award. He thinks it is in honour of his first novel being published.
He returns to the house where he grew up and while exploring the dusty old place he meets his childhood friend Calisto (Carlos Areces) who plays a practical joke on his old friend. Not long after Tomas arrives in the village Mario (Secun de la Rosa), his literary agent, shows up saying that he is hiding from lawyers and the police but that he wants to be part of the award that Tomas will be receiving.
Literally minutes after Mario shows up, Tomas’s uncle and a group of villages show up at Tomas’s house and kidnap both men. It turns out that Tomas must be sacrificed to help break the ancient curse that his great-grandmother brought upon the village.
This film is incredibly funny, well written, acted and paced. After watching it for the first time tonight, Meg and I realized that the film was a ‘keeper’ and that it would have to become part of our film collection.
It is another one of those films that ‘looked’ interesting from the LOVEFILM write-up and I put it on the rental list. Lobos de Arga is one of those delightful discoveries that makes taking chances on foreign films so worthwhile. There was not one disappointing moment in the film.
Moreno and his cast delivered on all cylinders. We were constantly amazed at how funny the talented cast and director could make just about every situation. There are two local policemen who come to investigate the village that make a brilliant (albeit short) double act.
Unfortunately I can’t give too much away in terms of the film and it’s storyline and plot. Just suffice to say that if you watch it and the sub-titles don’t put you off, this Spanish comedy horror film will not disappoint.
If you don’t find this every bit as funny and entertaining as we did I’ll eat my Daniel Boone raccoon hat! If I had one that is.
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