The rough Argentinian horror film She Wolf sounds like a pretty simple proposition: it's about a young woman who "prowls" the night, searching for men, whom she promptly entices, seduces, and murders. Street corners, dance clubs, subway trains, she doesn't seem to care where the men come from -- just as long as she can get her thrills and dole out some gruesome punishment before the night is through. Oh, and this crazy lady may or may not be some sort of wild werewolf woman who simply cannot control her impulses.
So already there's enough material, both on the screen and in the "subtextual" department, to make a fairly compelling horror film: instead of the painfully familiar "rape/revenge" template, She Wolf simply has a beautiful woman as the predator. Simple stuff, perhaps, but surely the sort of themes that lend themselves well to horror cinema: sexy stalk and slash on the surface and a little gender-related social commentary that, at the very least, shakes up the formula a little bit.
Oh, also the murderous anti-heroine of She Wolf is portrayed by three different (correct that: very different) actresses.
Call it a gimmick or call it simplistic symbolism, but to her credit, writer/director Tamae Garateguy does seem to have a point: her predator is, at different times, a willowy young waif, a stunningly leggy blonde, and a bruising brunette powerhouse -- depending on what her nightly exploits demand. The "she wolf" goes from a savory morsel to a furious warrior in the blink of an eye, but (of course) the viewer is the only one who sees the change. It's a clever visual hook that allows us to get into the head of the crazy lady maniac, even when the rest of the film feels like little more than a standard, if still compelling, character-based slasher story.
All three of the lead actresses deliver raw, powerful, unpredictable performances. Some of She Wolf's more explicit sex scenes will almost certainly be trimmed down for an American release (not saying that's a good thing), but the bravery displayed by Guadalupe Docampo, Monica Liarana, and Lujan Ariza goes well beyond simple nudity. Each of the women run through a gamut of extreme material, and even when the movie gets a little arid or obvious, the three facets of the she wolf are consistently fascinating.
Bleak, blunt, and pretty brutal, She Wolf certainly isn't a simple or standard piece of imported horror cinema, but it works more than well enough as an angry Argentinian boot to the ass of male-dominated horror cinema. The "three women in one" casting trick may sound like a showy distraction, but it actually adds a nice dash of insight to what could have been a standard "angry female strikes back" exercise.