Despite being sexy, She Wolf doesn't make a strong impression
Now available on DVD is the arty Argentine thriller She Wolf. Shot in black and white, and in a kind of guerrilla style, director Tamae Garateguy’s 2013 film is sexy and bloody, but it’s too minimalist—read: underdeveloped—to have great impact.
The film opens promisingly with the title character (Mónica Lairana) bound and gagged as a man ravishes her. While it’s unclear if this is role-playing, a date gone wrong, or just a typical pick up for the heroine, the following scene has the She Wolf exacting a deadly revenge.
Apparently, the She Wolf is also a shape-shifting serial killer; she is soon seen taking other guises of a leggy blonde and raven-haired women (Guadalupe Docampo and Luján Ariza). She is also careful about whom she mates and kills. She rejects the advances of a young soccer player (Javier de Pietro in a cameo role) but does hook up with a rocker (Guillermo Pfening), whom she meets on the subway. After his intense concert performance, he and She Wolf go off to have some intense sex. Garateguy has some fun with the imagery of She Wolf’s dark fingernails (they resemble talons) grabbing the rocker’s naked ass. Then She Wolf kills him.
If the filmdoes not ascribe much meaning to the killing, it is clear that the title character is not to be messed with. Consider how she poisons the neighbor’s dog when its barking disrupts her masturbating in bed.
While sex and death are a step-and-repeat theme here, the film does get the semblance of a plot going when She Wolf picks up Garcia (Edgardo Castro) in the subway and goes back to his house where he puts the moves on her. He is actually an undercover detective looking to collar her, but the crafty She Wolf escapes, and takes up with Leo (Nicolás Goldschmidt), a drug dealer. Their sex is quite passionate and includes a gorgeous shot of Leo lying naked in bed, surrounded by all three She Wolves.
If Garateguy creates moments of beauty and intrigue, the film’s lack of character development is frustrating. She Wolf never really makes viewers care about who lives, dies, or survives, and while the feminist empowerment message might be worthwhile, it is unclear what motivates She Wolf’s criminal behavior toward men.
As the title character, Lairana and Docampo and Ariza are all distinctive, and they rise to the challenges Garateguy presents. In support, Pfening makes a strong impression because his character has some verve. He is charismatic chatting She Wolf up, performing on stage, and in the wild sex scene. In contrast, Edgardo Castro is unsympathetic as Garcia; most viewers will be rooting against him. Likewise, Nicolás Goldschmidt does not really make Leo very interesting. A scene where he argues with his father over the contents of a bag seems rather pointless.
She Wolf is a mixed bag. The film won’t quite please the horror crowd, as there is not much gore. The film does features some pretty graphic sex, but it is more awkward than erotic. Ultimately, Garateguy’s film is a cautionary tale that is best viewed with caution, or as a curiosity piece.
She Wolf is currently available on DVD.