One night a businessman is enjoying a private strip show in one of the back rooms of a strip club. During the stripper’s performance, he gets excited, turns into a werewolf and tries to attack her. Grabbing the nearest weapon she had, a silver pen that she had attached to her shirt, she stabs the werewolf in the eye and kills him. The owner of the club has her bouncer dispose of the body, but when the werewolf pack discovers that he’s been killed, they go out looking for revenge, and in the process, dredge up an old rivalry with Jeanette, the owner of the strip club who had faced off with them many years before. Now it’s a fight for survival as the strippers take on the werewolf pack.
The distribution company Well Go USA seems to have two areas of films they release. Their primary focus is on Asian films, and in that, they have brough to the American market some absolutely amazing films from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. On the other side of the coin are the more independent, lower budget features, typically from the UK, but also one notable American film as well that I can think of. These films for me have been a bit of a hit and a miss. Some have been great, some just mediocre, and in the case of one in particular, absolutely horrible. Strippers vs. Werewolves falls into this category, but where does it fall in terms of quality? Well…
First off, this film advertises itself as having Robert Englund in it, and he is…for maybe three minutes, in a completely pointless scene in a single jail cell that really has no purpose in the film other than allowing them to say that Robert Englund is in it. So don’t go into it expecting him to have a major role, because all he was given really is a pointless cameo appearance.
Now, that said, this film does have some real stand out members in the cast, and notable ones as well. For example, Sarah Douglas plays Jeanette, the owner of the strip club in which the film takes place. You may not recognize the name right off the bat, but when I tell you that she was was in Superman I and II playing Ursa, one of Superman’s enemies, and she played the evil Queen Taramis in Conan the Destroyer, you’ll probably know immediately who she is. Sarah has had a long and amazing career, and I would encourage you to look her up on IMDB. She’s been in a whole lot of things I’m betting most of our readers have seen. Her performance in this film was absolutely amazing. She always comes off as pure class, whether she’s playing a hero or a villain. In this one, her cool demeaner in the face of a pack of werewolves that she’s tangled with before in the past, really draws you into the story and the action. Having someone in this role that couldn’t bring that level of sophistication and courage to their character would have hurt the story tremendously, but she played it absolutely perfect.
Another great performance in the film was from Billy Murray. I knew he looked familiar to me, and after I looked up his IMDB page, I found out why. He was in another film I reviewed from Well Go USA a while back called Dead Cert, in which he plyed Dante Livenko. He’s been in a large number of films, and an even larger number of British television series. He also had a very small part in the movie Doghouse (one of my favorites) as a colonel who was spiked to a wall and had his chest and abdomen ripped open by zombie women who had been created by a new biological weapon that was being tested on a small town. In this film, he plays Ferris, the alpha of the pack. He cares nothing for the lives of normal men, and even less about the lives of normal women. When it turns out that one of the pack members’ girlfriends, who is also one of the strippers, has become infected with the werewolf curse, he tells him to kill her, because there are no women allowed in the pack. Basically, he plays a right bastard in this film, and he does it very well. He has a history with Jeanette, and when the two meet at the end of the film, the way they play off of each other, tells you more about their history than the actual story in the film does. It allows you to imply and imagine a lot of things about what went on in the past, and that’s awesome when a film can give the viewer that kind of freedom without itself getting lost in the ubscurities of other, less important details.
Simon Phillips is another guy with a great character in the film, but unfortunately, he’s not in it anywhere near as much as he should be. This film would have been very well served if they had beefed up his role considerably. He plays the boyfriend of one of the strippers, and he’s into all things occult. He’s also a bit of a nerd and feels like he’s dating way out of his league. She doesn’t know exactly what he does when he says he’s hunting vampires and such. Little does she know, he actually is hunting vampires. He was a fun and rather comical character who would have added immensely to the film had he only been given more of a role.
The strippers and all the other side characters played their roles quite well. The acting quite good throughout the film, though with a cast as large as this film had, it would be impossible to sit here and talk about them all. So I’ll just give a general thumbs up to the entire cast, and a huge thumbs up to the three I mentioned above.
Now, being a werewolf movie, you’d expect to see werewolves in it, right? Well, you do. Quite often actually. They look pretty decent, though not overly realistic or scary. I’m happy to say that they were actually done with real make up, and we were mostly spared any long, drawn out transformation sequences. While transformation sequences can definitely be cool to watch, they often add very little to the story, other than added running time. The transformations in this film tend to be rather quick and sort of just happen for the most part. I do have to say though that the men looked way better as werewolves than the women. Something about the make up on the women just didn’t work for me. It was ok, but just didn’t look right somehow.
Something else that was well done in the film was the gore. It didn’t look cheap and crappy as you’d expect it to in a film like this. It was actually really well done and added a lot to the scenes where there was gore, rather than coming off as cartoonish, as poorly done gore effects most always do. If the gor hadn’t have been done right, it would have lessened the quality of this film far more than anything else could have, because it really would have just made it look cheap.
There was one really poorly done scene in the film though. It was a CGI shot of the outside of Jeanette’s old strip club before they blew it up. The lighting in the windows was horrible and the whole thing just looked fake. It would have been far better if they had taken a shot of an actual building and then CGI’d in a sign over the door.
I think if I were to mention the single biggest problem this film suffered from, it would be that it had too many characters. There were so many that it made it difficult to connect with any of them except for the main ones. For example, Scott was one of the werewolves, which I only remember because he was dating the stripper named Justice. I couldn’t tell you the names of any of the other werewolves in the pack. I couldn’t tell you Robert Englund’s character’s name unless I had it open in IMDB here. The strippers, just two days after watching it, the only name I remember of any of them is Justice. They were good characters and well acted, but there was such a lack of focus that they just became…I don’t want to say forgettable, because I do remember the characters themselves, but for the life of me I can’t think of any of their names without looking them up.
This film has gotten a LOT of bad reviews so far, and on IMDB it’s only got a 2.8 rating. While the film had some problems here and there, it actually is a rather fun and enjoyable film if you go into it expecting it to be cheesy, because much of it is. It’s more than that though. It has great characters with a talented cast, some nice effects and make up, and a pretty decent story that holds together well despite its lack of focus here and there. If I were to rate it on IMDB, I’d probably give it a 7. It’s far from perfect, but it is enjoyable.
For special features, this release contains a producer’s commentary track with Jonathan Sothcott and Simon Phillips, as well as a behind the scenes featurette. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have subtitles, which would have been helpful for people who have trouble with British accents or who are hard of hearing.
If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here, and if you’d like to get a copy for yourself, you can pick up the DVD or blu-ray releases from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.