Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: Strippers Vs Werewolves (2011)

Once in a while a film comes along with a title that really sets its self up for a let down. Being as bold, jaw dropping and eye catching as it is, Strippers Vs Werewolves is one of them. That is not to say it is a failure. There's still some late night drunken fun to be had here.

After a punter (Martin Kemp) at the local lap/pole dancing club Vixens gets a little carried away and turns all feral, resulting in a silver pointed fountain pen lodged in his eye, club owner Jeanette (Sarah Douglas from Superman II), bar manager Harry (East End hard man regular Alan Ford), stripper Justice (Adele Silva) and doorman Franklyn (Nick Nevern) plot to hide the body and pretend nothing has happened. Werewolves are not a new thing, nor a shock for the old hands as their previous establishment was over run by them, causing them to take drastic action and bomb the place "It's just like Basildon 1984" Harry gruffly points out.
It turns out Mickey (Kemp) is missed, however, and his pack of lycan cronies, led by Ferris (Billy Murray, still Don Beech from The Bill to me) set out to find out what has happened to him.
It doesn't help matters that Justice's boyfriend (who thinks she works at a vets) happens to be one of the gang (she thinks he's an estate agent) and when she bites him during a bout of passion, she begins to show signs of changing.
The girls band together - with a little help from Sinclair (Simon Phillips), boyfriend of one of the girls (Barbara Nedeljakova from the first two Hostel films), who happens to be an amateur vampire hunter - to defeat the gangster wolves and to strip another day.
There's not much meat to the script, but there are some fun exchanges and interesting cameos from Robert Englund (playing the incarcerated alpha wolf behind the 1984 infestation), Steven Berkoff, Lysette Anthony and - in a genuinely funny scene - Lucy Pinder as a vampire bride. Former Bill actress Abi Bastian stands out from the main cast, her character - blonde, ditzy, funny but resourceful - interestingly was given a high profile on a number of the film's posters - do blondes sell films better? Surely Adele Silva - a regular in Emmerdale a while back - would have been more recognisable?

The films effects range from excellent to passable, the werewolf prosthetic would have probably benefited from being lit a little darker, but it all adds to the fun, cheesiness of it all. The slick, comic book editing give the film a Lock Stock meets Scott Pilgrim vibe, and the tongue in cheek delivery never spoils the tone of the film. While it may not be scary, nor hilarious, there are fun moments, and some good gore. The sight of the big, lumbering, dim witted werewolf played by boxer Joe Egan having a dirty rummage while watching a girl undress did make me laugh though!  There's some nudity on display, but, sadly for fans of The Bare Facts guide, not from the main cast, and nothing too extreme. Simon Phillips' awkward occult investigator character is a high point, even if you can't help imagining Nick Frost in the role.

The film is one of the swan songs of production company Black and Blue Films, linchpin of which Jonathan Sothcott having formed the new Chata Pictures. I did notice you name checked the upcoming Airbourne in there, well done Mr S! I've enjoyed previous films they had been involved with, Dead Cert and Stalker especially, which seem to have be written off by some areas of the media, which is a shame. UK film making doesn't have to be all period dramas and kitchen sink gloom, you know. Don't be afraid to like films that are just fun!
While you may well feel short changed on what might have been, you can't deny the film delivers exactly what it promises. Strippers. And Werewolves. And they fight.
6 out of 10

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