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  • Gareth Crook

Teen Wolf (1985) - 7/10

I watched Teen Wolf a lot as a kid. Thanks to a VHS copy that got worn out. The thing is though, it was one of those films you watched just to see Micheal J. Fox turn into a werewolf. Pre full-blown CGI, effects like this were a big thing. Scott (Fox) is a high school kid down on his luck. Sick of being pushed around and being crap at basketball. Things though are about to change for Scott. Now I’m not going to tell you that this has hidden depths I didn’t see as a kid, but it’s a good film. It holds up. Why? Well because Fox is a good actor. As is James Hampton who plays his dad here and Susan Ursitti who plays the love interest, Boof… who Scott isn’t really interested in. Alright this isn’t challenging drama, but these three anchor Teen Wolf brilliantly. Living in small town America, working in his dads hardware store, Scott isn’t cool and doesn’t have much chance with the popular girls like Pamela (Lorie Griffin). He’s a good kid, just wants to do well and have a bit of fun. His comedy tshirt wearing friend Stiles (Jerry Levine) is a bad influence, but hey what’s an 80s movie without a keg and a party scene. Teen Wolf is a simple story at its heart. A kid figuring things out… all whilst being a bit different. Scott doesn’t know he’s a werewolf you see, but he’s about to find out. The reveal scene with Scott and his dad is not only well done, it’s funny, touching and oddly genuine. There’s a lot of pressure on teenage kids, do well in school, wanting respect from your peers, Scott has lost his mother too and this being an 80s teen movie, the headmaster has “Got his eye” on him. Every time the pressure builds, out comes the wolf. Soon the secret is out and it seems that being a Teen Wolf has its advantages… and disadvantages that Scott hadn’t anticipated. Shot in three weeks, it’s not a masterpiece and apparently Fox hated it, but it’s got a lot of heart and it’s genuinely fun to watch, even now. Alright some of the music is truly terrible, there’s some awfully outdated dialogue and it’s very cheesy, but I mean who doesn’t love watching a hairy guy pretending to surf on top of a moving van. Not Scott’s dad, who tells him he’s “Gotta get a hold of” being a werewolf. Cue a bit of soul searching. As we reach the predicable finale on the basketball court, Scott has a choice to make. Of course everything works out. Everything did in the 80s, but despite its flaws, this is a great feel good film.



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