Teen Wolf (1985) Directed by Rod Daniel. With Michael J. Fox, James Hampton and Jerry Levine.
Michael J. Fox is the Canadian Werewolf in America…doesn’t quite have that ring…okay, we’ll call it Teen Wolf. Released the same year as the critically acclaimed and much-loved Back to the Future, Michael J. also headlined this, a movie about a teenager, who’s really a werewolf…basically what it says in the poster.
Directed by Rod Daniel, the film aims to skit around the various areas of teen life with the casting coup of Fox (red hot at the time thanks to TV’s Family Ties). We begin (and end) at a college basketball game which introduces the characters in one scene; the bully, the ‘amusingly fat kid (yes, he’s nicknamed Chubby), the party animal, the arrogant Prom Queen, the loyal, but slightly dowdy girl(friend) and, of course, Marty McWolf.
Michael J. Fox is ever the energetic lead, darting around the screen, trying his best to keep the film afloat despite a flimsy script that doesn’t make enough of his talents. At times, it seems to have ambitions as a loose, frat boy comedy, with wild house parties, preceded by those awkward moments in the liquor store, but actually, its real aim is to subvert those elements with an overlying narrative about finding the confidence to be your true self, although its too clumsy and dated to score any points on this front, making the end result a bit of a mess.
Yes, there’s some nostalgia to be found from looking back, and Michael J.Fox is eminently watchable, even when he’s forced to carry the weight of the entire production (he didn’t show up for the sequel). In short, Teen Wolf is squarely for the 8-12 age range…and those who were 8-12 when they saw it for the first time. 2.5/5