Well Go USA // 2011 // 93 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // September 25th, 2012
Strippers toting shotguns. Werewolves with low self-esteem.
Horror and comedy go well together. Sex and comedy go well together. Why shouldn't sex and horror and comedy go well together? That's the question that Strippers vs. Werewolves (Blu-ray) asks us to consider. From the title to the credits, the film makes the case that all of these elements can be successfully combined. It's a case that largely succeeds, even if the ultimate effect isn't as strong as the premise. With a title like Strippers vs. Werewolves, it should have been a film that crossed generic boundaries and got non-horror fans to watch. Instead, it's a fun horror comedy sure to please those already interested in the genre.
So, there's a strip club in the UK -- Silvadollaz -- where there are, well, strippers. This particular club is frequented by a number of werewolves. When one of the local werewolves gets a little too frisky during a lap dance, a stripper has to put him down. When his mates track the murder back to Silvadollaz, the ladies are in for a fight; suddenly its Strippers vs. Werewolves.
Strippers vs. Werewolves isn't the worst movie, and I'll get back to that in a bit. First, though, it has to be said that the flick commits one of the cardinal sins of genre filmmaking: not embracing the medium. There's this strange, mistaken idea floating around about comedy, that if you're making a funny movie, you have to tone down the rest of the genre elements for the audience. So, when making a horror-comedy, the emphasis shouldn't be on the horror, but the comedy. Same thing with erotic comedy, the sex gets toned down in favor of the laughs. What this forgets is that the best examples of the genre -- think Evil Dead II and Shaun of the Dead -- don't choose between horror and comedy but turn both up to 11.
Strippers vs. Werewolves, for all the promise of its title, doesn't do that. It's got some laughs, but the entire time I was left with the feeling that the film would be a thousand times better if the filmmakers had opted for more horror/gore elements or even tarted up the stripper side of things, showing more flesh. Instead, the film has some good gags, but falls down when it's trying to do anything else. It's also a question of tone. By not being willing to go all-out in the horror and sex parts of the film, Strippers vs. Werewolves feels like a much less weighty (and interesting) film than it could be.
I don't want to be too hard on Strippers vs. Werewolves because it offers one of the most honest moments of truth-in-advertising I've even seen. It's a film that definitely contains strippers, werewolves, and a fight between them. No, I don't think it absolutely lives up to the promise of its premise, nor completely utilizes some of the actors (including a Robert Englund cameo). However, I think it's important to emphasize that Strippers vs. Werewolves offers something of what anyone picking up a flick with that title would expect. There's mostly naked ladies, dudes with too much hair, and enough battles to go around. The comedy elements implied by the silly title aren't a complete failure. Aside from the main plot of the werewolf/stripper standoff, there is also a romantic subplot involving a Van Helsing-style boyfriend that lands a few momentary chuckles.
There's also little to complain about with Strippers vs. Werewolves (Blu-ray). The 1.78:1/1080p AVC-encoded image does the low-budget origins of the projects justice. There's some moments where things can look a bit soft, but overall the image is well-detailed. Black levels are fairly deep and consistent, and color saturation seems accurate. Grain is occasionally present, and is well-handled when it appears. The DTS-HD 5.1 surround track does fine with the film's dialogue and does a decent job of giving a sense of atmosphere. It's not the most ambitious track, but it does fine for a comedy film.
Extras start with a commentary featuring two of the film's producers, Jonathan Sothcott and Simon Philips (who also acts in the film). The pair are chatty and totally aware that the film isn't an unqualified success. They share a lot of stories about casting and the film's influences, which keeps the track moving throughout.
Strippers vs. Werewolves offers exactly what the title promises -- a little bit sexy, a little bit goofy, and a little bit horrific -- and a film that doesn't require much thought. Though it's not the slam-bang horror-comedy hybrid that longtime fans of the genre yearn for, it is a decent way to spend a Friday night after a couple of pints. This Blu-ray does a fine job of presenting the film and is fine for a rental.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated