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  Teddy Loopy Loup-Garou
Year: 2020
Director: Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma
Stars: Anthony Bajon, Christine Gautier, Ludovic Torrent, Guillaume Mattera, Jean-Michel Ricart, Alain Boitel, Noemie Livovsky
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Teddy Pruvost (Anthony Bajon) is attending the memorial service to those who died in the war and hailed from this small French village, but is not keen on the way it's going. He laughs when the local teen sings La Marseillaise, and when he notices his relative's name has been misspelled in the plaque, he flies into a rage and is asked to leave. His girlfriend Rebecca (Christine Gautier) offers him a welcome in her bedroom, calming him down somewhat, and once they have finished, he sets off home across the fields. However, something strange has happened as there has been a flock of sheep slaughtered there. Could there be a wolf in the area?

Some werewolf movies play it coy as to what is actually going on, as if anyone watching a werewolf flick would not be aware of the tropes it was toying with for some time beforehand. If you found that tiresome, Teddy would be more on your wavelength as it made no bones, human or otherwise, about the reality of its young hero's predicament, for we were not here for any great surprises regarding the identity or, for that matter, the reality of lycanthropes. When Teddy is mauled by the wolf as he tries to confront it in foolhardy fashion, writers and directors the Boukherma Brothers made no attempt to sustain any mystery.

Aside from when Ted will go ballistic, that was, and while some identified the main inspiration for the directors as Brian De Palma and his version of Stephen King's novel Carrie, maybe look more recently to the Canadian cult chiller Ginger Snaps for something closer to the tone, though even so the stylings here were more like black comedy in their observations of how an outsider can disrupt the peace and quiet of smalltown life. French or otherwise, and in depicting Teddy, they skirted stereotyping with his cliched heavy metal fan persona, always wearing the same black and decorated T-shirt and representing a dose of "safe" danger and adventure in Rebecca's life.

What was clear was Teddy was heading for a fall, as he has given up school, and a chance at college, for a temp job at the local massage parlour under boss Ghislaine (Noemie Livovsky), literally, quite often, as she is frequently trying to seduce him under the premise of massaging him, but climbing atop the boy instead. She was one of a selection of comedic caricatures of French rural existence, the most amusing of which were the policemen, a couple of old buffers who definitely do not believe in werewolves and take Teddy's awkward presence with longsuffering disdain. But it was Rebecca who was the catalyst for the mayhem we can tell is on the way, yet are unsure of the shape it will take, or even if the budget will stretch to a wolfman costume.

It kind of did and kind of didn't, but this "needs must" approach was quite effective, especially when we had been led to believe it would draw to a close on a comic note as the rest of it had been entertaining for over an hour, despite some starkly gruesome prologue (such as a long hair plucked from an eyeball). Bajon was ideally cast as the lovesick teen who sees his chance at happiness begin to slip away when his girlfriend has been cosying up to the pals she has at school - she stayed on, and has passed her exams to go to university, leaving everyone except Teddy surprised when she announces she will be resolutely moving on from Nowheresville. You do feel sorry for him, but less so when the film more or less stages a mass murder of the type that blighted certain parts of the world in real life, so no wonder the laughs dry up around the break-up stage. But if it feels as if the fun runs out well before the end credits, this remained an impressive effort that surprisingly did not come across as condescending. Music by Amaury Chabauty.

[Teddy - Premieres 5 August 2021 **A Shudder Original Film.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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