Starring: Michael J Fox, Susan Ursitti, Jerry Levine
Harold – “Listen son, you’re going to be able to do a lot of things the other guys aren’t.”
Scott – “Oh yeah, like chase cars and bite the mailman?”
Fresh from his success in Back To The Future, Michael J Fox was the talk of Tinseltown. He was quickly snapped up to play the lead role in Teen Wolf, a teen comedy with “bite”. Ho ho ho, I’m quite the wordsmith.
Scott Howard (Fox) is your typical high school loser. He’s shit at basketball, can’t attract the ladies and can’t buy alcohol because the guy at the liquor store is too smart for him and his pals. In short, he’s a dweeb.
Things start to take a turn for the better when Scott all of a sudden realises he can actually play basketball like a young Michael Jordan. His friends are amazed at his newfound abilities and he is too, but he soon gets concerned when he starts growing hair at a ridiculous rate (no, not like that) and finds himself snapping into violent rages all of a sudden.
Eventually Scott’s hair gets out of control and starts to completely cover his face. He locks himself in his bathroom at home, scared at what he’s becoming. His dad comes into the bathroom too and, to Scott’s surprise, his face is similarly fluffy. It turns out Scott – like his dad and the rest of his bloodline – is a werewolf.
Oddly, despite his new appearance his schoolmates don’t really question it like they would if it happened in real life. Instead, everyone thinks wolfman Scott is awesome. They love his basketball skills, they think he’s cool as hell and all the ladies want to be with him (even though it’s essentially bestiality). The director of the school play wants him to be the lead (as long as he’s still a werewolf) and he gets invited to all the parties.
Even though it’s a film about an odd subject, the same old teen movie conventions apply and it’s ultimately yet another movie about high school acceptance. When he becomes cool, Scott finally gains the attention of the selfish bimbo all the guys love, at the same time ignoring the wholesome, loveable girl who’s actually in love with him. Meanwhile, all his basketball teammates start to resent him because he hogs the ball and isn’t a team player.
As you’d expect, Scott loves the popularity for a while, but then realises it’s a shallow existence. And, as you’d expect, by the end of the film Scott realises being a cool werewolf isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, tries to play basketball without his werewolf powers and realises who’s really important in his life. It’s all predictable stuff.
Eventually the whole werewolf gimmick becomes pointless because the only ability it really seems to give Scott is the ability to play basketball better. Since I’m fairly sure werewolves aren’t known for their ability to play basketball the movie could have just as easily been called Teen Frog or Teen Coat Rack and it would have been the same film with different make-up and special effects.
Teen Wolf is a perfectly acceptable high school movie, but if you’re expecting a movie showing how a teen struggles to survive high school with a hideous medical affliction you’re going to be disappointed because all it essentially teaches is that if you want everyone to love you, you have to be a werewolf first.