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Strippers Vs. Werewolves

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    Ehren H
    Senior Member

  • Strippers Vs. Werewolves



    Released by: Well Go USA Entertainment
    Released on: September 25th, 2012
    Directed by: Jonathan Glendening
    Cast: Adele Silva, Robert Englund, Sarah Douglas, Barbara Nedeljakova
    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:

    With a title like that, some over-the-top gore comedy sounds in order, and that is what I fully expected, and I have to be honest and say my expectations were not met. Now, I'm all for a surprise, and this film did have some, but just not enough to move it out of the middle of the road.

    For Justice (Adele Silva), her night working at Vixen's, a London strip club, takes a turn for the worse when someone she's performing a private dance for turns very hairy, and very fangy. She kills the attacker with her silver fountain pen, setting off a monstrous chain of events. As it turns out, there's a band of werewolves terrorizing London like a pack of gangsters, and some people might know more than they're letting on, including Jeanette (Sarah Douglas), and Harry the Bartender (Alan Ford). Once a member of the pack is slain, a ratcheting chain of events pit our frightened strippers against our ferocious lycanthropes.

    Let me start off by saying that the acting in this flick is actually above-par. Silva is a very cute leading lady, who is entirely believable as a heroine while still allowing a comic performance to shine through, and this is one of the strongest aspects of the film. The cast as a whole seems to find a decent balance between playing it completely straight in the face of horror as well as maintain a deadpan level of humor that somehow works. The two standouts for me were the ineffectual vampire-hunter/occult expert Sinclair (Simon Phillips) who is dating Raven (Barbara Nedeljakova), one of the strippers. Raven, herself, is one of the best characters in the film, a drop-dead gorgeous Eastern European goth girl with attitude. Those two are not only some of the most interesting characters in the film, but they also have many of the funniest lines. In true exploitation fashion, Robert Englund gets prominent billing on the cover and has only one scene in the film, but it is in no way a bad one.

    While the cast seems able to play the line between the horror and comedy, it's a shame the script can't as well. What we end up with is a hodgepodge between a horror movie, a comedy, and a British gangster film where the hybrid never quite comes together, and so it ends up coming up short in all three. Basically, the comedy isn't funny enough, the horror isn't horrific enough, and the crime elements aren't serious enough. The blood may be plentiful, but it is all shown in the aftermath after cutting away from the action in almost every instance. We also, puzzlingly, have no transformation scenes, which have long been a staple of werewolf movies. Instead our marauding canines seem to switch back and forth at will, sometimes in a matter of seconds. Likewise, for a movie that spends most of it's running time in a strip club the sleaze and nudity factor is extremely low, which of course isn't a requirement in a horror flick, but with a title like this it is to be somewhat expected.

    This isn't to say it's all bad, and I don't want to give that impression. Just because it doesn't all come together as well as it should does not mean it's without it's merits. Some of the jokes do hit their mark, and the fact that the cast all plays it quite straight helps immensely, and the film definitely elicited a few chuckles from me. Also, kudos is due for having practical makeup for the werewolves rather than the all-too-common dodgy CGI that we usually see these days.

    Basically, this movie is essentially the definition of middle-of-the-road. It isn't one of the best horror movies of recent years, but it definitely isn't anywhere near the worst. It absolutely has it's flaws, but it has enough interesting bits to it to allow one to be forgiving of where it doesn't all come together. Some solid acting, a few decent jokes, and some interesting ideas make this worthy of an afternoon if you get the chance, but I wouldn't really worry about searching high and low for it.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    As a recent film shot on HD, the 16x9 transfer understandably looks fantastic on Blu-Ray. The filmmakers obviously knew what they were doing, and the film definitely has some polish to it in the looks department. That said, in post-production someone decided that often placing the action in bizarre, awkward, and unnecessary split-screens somehow played up the drama (it doesn't), and every fade from the editing software was indeed used. The movie was shot great, and I really don't know why they went this route in post.

    The disc comes with the option for a 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo mix, as well as the commentary track discussed below. Sound is usually one of the most ignored, and easily the most problematic, aspects of low-budget film and they did a good job on this one. Numerous scenes of multiple people talking, music, and werewolves roaring are able to keep from getting muddled allowing for the jokes to seep through, which is quite important.

    In terms of extras, we get the original trailer, a quick Behind-The-Scenes featurette, and a commentary with a pair of the producers, including Simon Phillips, who also acted in the film. The trailer is self-explanatory, but the featurette and commentary shows just how much fun the cast and crew had while making the film, which I think is indicative of why the movie works at all; the fun they were having seeped through. When a group of filmmakers are having a blast making a movie, it does become infectious and the audience can pick up on it, and I definitely did. Seeing them laughing and enjoying the hell out of themselves behind the scenes, and hearing the stories in the commentary is indeed a fitting bonus feature, telling us all, "Hey, don't take this too seriously, have a laugh, we did."

    The Final Word:

    Strippers Vs. Werewolves is not a great movie by any means, but it's not a horrible one either. The movie comes up short in a quite a few areas like script, some annoying editing choices, and the noticeable lack of grue and sleaze. It did, however, have some great acting, some funny moments, and enough interesting ideas to hold my attention. This is a pure popcorn movie, and while it may not blow your mind, you won't feel like you wasted your time. I really, really wanted for this to be the new cheese classic, but it fairly defines middle-of-the-road genre cinema, which isn't necessarily bad…it's just not necessarily great, either.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!



















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