16th Feb2014

‘She Wolf of the Woods’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Toni Benedetti, Jamie Evans, Jason Harvey, Tyne Roberts, John Fleming | Written and Directed by Adriana Polito

She-Wolf-Poster

Adriana Polito, one of the producers of the superb body horror short Dysmorphia, turns her hand to writing and directing with the horror comedy She Wolf of the Woods, which follows forest ranger Amy as she goes about her day-to-day business in a small Scottish village – which just happens to include burying evidence of crimes in the woods and picking up strangers in local bars!

One such (un)lucky stranger is Ben, an American looking to trace his Scottish routes, who is picked up by Amy and taken back to her place for what he thinks will be a night of quick and easy sex. But what he doesn’t bargain on is Lucille, Amy’s room mate – who just happens to be a werewolf!

She Wolf of the Woods was originally intended as a feature length film but cut back to a short, and I think that helps the story. It certainly gives this tale much more punch, feeling like a Scottish take on an episode of Tales from the Crypt. Yes, I would have loved a bit more back story to both Lucille and Amy, but not at the expense of the fast-paced storytelling on show here. Perhaps not knowing everything works to the films advantage, giving the first two thirds of the short a real air of mystery, before pulling you right into its lycanthropic tale.

Polito and co. aren’t afraid to play with the stereotypical werewolf tropes either – as the fantastically funny pub scene will atest: Reminiscent of the “gimme the ball” basketball-court set scene from Teen Wolf, Amy asks a bartender for a Sour Bourbon, when he doesn’t respond there’s a great stare-down between the two characters which doesn’t end exactly how you would expect in a werewolf movie. It seems her “powers” of persuasion aren’t that persuasive…

Stylistically, there’s a real Euro-horror vibe to She Wolf of the Woods, with Polito and co. effortlessly capturing that sleazy look and sound pioneered by the likes of Jess Franco and Jean Rollin in the 1970s – the soundtrack is especially porno-chic, perfect for those that love their music to be tres-kitsch!

Speaking of the look of the film, praise must go to director Adriana Polito and cinematographer Paul-John Ross for producing such a fantastic looking short on such a small budget – making great use of locations and lighting to enhance the visuals in such a way that there’s no need for excessive exposition or dialogue. From the stark, brightly lit forest, to the dimly lit pubs, the visuals are a perfect complement to the script, almost telling the story themselves.

For gorehounds out there, there’s not a ton of gore in this short (a severed hand is about a gory as you’re going to get), instead the film goes for a more “modern gothic” take on the long-suffering werewolf genre and as such it may not please those looking for blood (literally); but lycanthropy lovers will definitely find something to enjoy about She Wolf of the Woods. I did.

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