This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Big Bad Wolf: Review

Some days ago, I finally got round to watching the 2006 werewolf flick (well, with a name like that, no point concealing what it’s about), “Big Bad Wolf”. Now, I’m something of an aficionado, as anyone who knows me is aware, of B movies. In fact, I enjoy them rather more than the more pretentious mainstream flicks because I have no expectations whatsoever and so I can’t possibly be disappointed.

You know the B movie stereotype – the formulaic slasher flick. A group of clueless teenagers go to a lonely cottage in the middle of nowhere, and, as they begin partying and screwing and taking somewhat redundant showers, a crazed maniacal killer quite predictably begins picking them off one by one. Right? In fact, the formula is part of the enjoyment.

So, when I began watching “Big Bad Wolf”, I had no expectations whatsoever; it was just another way to unwind a little bit and relax in the knowledge that it wouldn’t matter a hang if I missed part of, or for that matter, half the film, would it? Well, I was wrong.

You’d better believe it, “Big Bad Wolf” is a stand-out among B movies; a movie that’s good. By that I don’t mean it’s so bad that it’s good. I mean it’s simply good.

I suppose I’d better get the story part over with. In a remote Cameroonian jungle, a hunter and his guide are gruesomely dismembered by a hirsute, somewhat simian creature. Cut to the US, several years later. Enter clueless teenager Derek Cowley, who’s so eager to be accepted by the in crowd at college that he steals the keys to his stepfather’s remote country cottage so that two of his friends can take along their girls for a weekend of partying and sex. On the way he picks up his own girl, one Samantha “Sam” Marche, a motorcycle-riding prototypical movie butch lesbian who happens not to be a lesbian at all but – incredibly – the friend of that dweeb of all dweebs, Derek. How that miracle came about isn’t quite clear, but what the hell.

So they arrive at the old cottage in the middle of nowhere, there to begin drinking and dancing on tables and the friends and their girlfriends begin making out. Remember the old B-movie law? If you have sex, it goes, you...die. So you know exactly what’s going to happen when Friend Number One (I can’t be bothered to remember these peoples’ names; they’re just disposable numbers anyway) and his girl go out and begin fucking in the woods...hairy monster, screams, and death.

Meanwhile, the other friend’s GF turns out to be a virgin of the Ironpants type – “marry me if you want to fuck me” – and the frustrated guy and the Derek-Sam pair, who, of course, don’t have sex (they must survive, mustn’t they?) come stumbling out to face the fury of the Beast, who makes mincemeat of them all except, of course, Derek and Sam. Managing to escape, they get home and decide between themselves that Derek’s stepdad, Mitchell Toblat, is the werewolf. With the help of Derek’s Uncle Charlie, they set out to prove that he is, indeed, the Big Bad Wolf in person.

With his secret in jeopardy, Toblat (no surprises here – he is the Wolf) sets out to destroy Charlie, Sam and Derek before they can give him away...and they go right back to the cottage for a grand finale, only to be interrupted by another thrill-seeking group of clueless teens.

Can you say werewolf?

All that said, and despite the weak and hard-to-like male and female leads, the movie is surprisingly enjoyable. The reason for that is basically the Wolf himself – who, unlike the average fictional werewolf, can talk and has the ability to change form without depending on the phase of the moon. And this Wolf has lines that are, pun not intended, gut-bustingly funny.

“Little pigs,” he calls out to the clueless teens holed up in the cottage at one point, “little pigs, come on I can rip your guts out!” Then again, when he’s in the act of raping and clawing to death Girlfriend Number Two (the professional virgin), the Clueless Boyfriend protests “She’s a virgin!” Wolf: “Not anymoreeeeeeeeeeeee...” On yet a third occasion, a Clueless Teenager wants to open the door and leave when the Wolf offers him the chance. Derek: “Don’t be an idiot.” (Clueless Teenager still opens the door). Wolf (just before snapping his head off): “You...idiot!”

You get the idea.

Not that the rest of the film is trash, exactly. The formula is there, but handled with relatively superb competence. The compulsory bare breasts are in view, on several occasions (there, I said it), but the nudity is actually even relevant to the plot and not jacked in somehow. Nobody takes an extraneous shower so that she can be ripped to pieces in the middle of it, for example.

I should be neglecting my duty if I didn’t mention that the version I saw had a kind of English. I say “a kind of English” because the subtitles read as though they were Chinese or Korean retranslated back into English with a defective e-translator. Hilarious at best and baffling at worst.

I still can’t understand how, though, Sam Marche became “Sha Gracious” and Mitch Talbot “Metre Cut Erh” in the subtitles. Maybe the werewolf can threaten those responsible with slow and grisly death unless they can explain that.

Till then, by B movie standards, four stars. (B movies are rated separately from real movies where I’m concerned.)

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