Mexican Werewolf in Texas DVD Review
Written by Eric Strauss
DVD released by Maverick Entertainment
Written and directed by Scott Maginnis
2005, 88 minutes, Rated R
Erika Fay as Anna Furlough
Gabriel Gutierrez as Miguel Gonzalez
Martine Hughes as Rosie
Sara Erikson as Jill Gillespie
Michael Carreo as Tommy
Mark Halvorson as Brad Furlough
and Louie Cruz Beltran as Manny Gonzalez
Having finished watching Mexican Werewolf in Texas, I find myself hoping it's meant to be a parody.
Because if it's meant to be a serious horror movie, it ain't even close.
Sure, there are a few moments of tension toward the end, as we wait to see if one of the relatively likeable main characters — not to be confused with the vast majority of characters in the film — gets eaten.
Give you a hint, when the "smartest girl in school" is a fifth wheel who brings raw meat on a hunt for a carnivorous killer, well, maybe there isn't that much tension after all.
I was disappointed. The films I've seen so far from Maverick Entertainment have been pretty good. And the box cover has some pretty nice cover art, featuring a snarling, bloody maw.
But Mexican Werewolf just misfires from Jump Street. Unless, of course, you're supposed to be amused. On the other hand, even if it is a parody, I suspect you aren't meant to be bored.
There might have been an interesting societal message in this tale of a beast terrorizing a border town and stirring up resentment between the white Texans and the Mexican immigrants.
But there isn't. Instead, all the white folks — except the leading lady, high-schooler Anna (Erika Fay, one of the few good actors in the film) — are idiot, bigoted redneck caricatures. In fact, most of the Mexicans are caricatures, too, but at least they're not all stupid ones. Pat Buchanan's not going to like this flick.
It's one thing when Sara Erikson's (TV's "Foxworthy's Big Night Out") ditzy comic relief does or says something stupid. She's meant to be laughed at, and like Fay, does her job well. Louie Cruz Beltran doesn't embarrass himself, either, playing the veterinarian father of Fay's love interest. That's right, Pat, the only genuinely smart adult in the whole film is a Latino.
Mentioning the rest of the cast would really add insult to injury, but Gabriel Gutierrez (She Creature), the love interest, is a good example of what goes wrong, because he represents everything that's misguided about the film. His Miguel character is a computer nerd, and probably meant to be endearingly goofy and surprisingly brave. Yet, Gutierrez spends most of the movie with this strange, startled look on his face, so you can't tell if he's hamming it up, or just a genuinely bad actor. In other words, if you laugh, are you "getting it"? Or are you just a bad person?
In fact, it's Miguel who brings in a supposed bounty-hunter from out of town, a kind of character staple who usually brings impressive gravitas to horror thrillers. Instead, this one is a bumbling, filthy misfit — and not in a positive, Ghostbusters sort of way — played by an actor who rushes his lines so badly you literally can't understand a word he says. Again… is this meant to be parody, and just not funny? Or worse, is it meant to be genuinely entertaining, and just not funny?
There's some blood in the kill scenes, but they're edited in the kind of hyper-MTV slice-and-dice fashion that probably hides some weaknesses in a not-bad monster costume — think Feast on speed — but mostly just leaves you trying to figure out what's going on. Especially when you've never seen the victim before and have no idea where he is relative to the town, the goat ranches or any of the characters with names.
At least the tortured boredom of being a teenager in a small town — welcome to Furlough, Texas, "goat capital of the world" — rings somewhat true. Maybe writer/director Scott Maginnis (who has a lot of big-studio art department experience) grew up in one.
The boredom of small-town life, unfortunately, takes up way too much time. The film's a quarter over before the chupacabra has killed anything other than some goats and a dog. Of course, a chupacabra is a goat-killer, according to legend, but if it doesn't move on to anything that remotely smells like goat… well, there wouldn't be any excuse to kill the extras or start a pool on which characters with lines are cannon fodder.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Audio/video and special features will not be graded, as this is a screener disc.
There are some very good independent werewolf films out there. Unless you want an uncomfortable laugh, rent one of those instead. There's very little to recommend this one.
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