a critiQal film review Teen Wolf (1985)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: A high-school student (Fox) finds himself suddenly turning into a werewolf and it becomes an asset in his popularity in school. But is this new-found popularity really what he wants?

481 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 24s)

While we were perusing our NetFlix® instant queue the other day trying to figure out what movie we both wanted to see, we stumbled across an old 80’s flick starring Michael J. Fox, called Teen Wolf.

Since we were both fans of Michael J. Fox (, Back to the Future (1985)), we figured we’d give it a shot. Would Michael impress us as much with this performance? Or should he have stuck to more Back to the Future (1985) sequels?

Looking as young as he did in his old Alex P. Keaton “Family Ties” (TV) persona, Michael J. Fox delivers a fun performance as a high-schooler in Teen Wolf. Amongst a cast of virtual no-names, he gets the viewer involved in this total unrealistic story of a high-school boy finding popularity after he becomes a werewolf.

Though the story is entirely implausible, Fox’s earnestness of character that has gotten him so much success in his career doesn’t do him wrong in Teen Wolf. The viewer will form an instant attachment to his character. While the movie falls straight into sheer ludicrousness, Fox is the viewer’s solid ground, as he expresses emotions right in tune with most viewer’s memories of their high-school years.

Of course, the sheer ridiculousness of the plot helps cover up the underlying moral of the film, and helps prevent the film from getting to preachy while delivering it’s lesson to the viewers. Sure, the film boils down to a simple morality tale of staying true to yourself without kowtowing to pressure from anyone. But with the viewer’s attention on this short basketball player suddenly becoming a hairy Jordan, most will be distracted enough to see the film through anyway.

Unfortunately, any unpredictability the film may have had is lost after viewers get the gist of the storyline, and so the ending is easily guessed before the movie is half over. Since the viewer spent most of the first part of the film waiting for the wolf to come out, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for the fun meat of the film – Fox turning into a werewolf and becoming the most popular guy in school because of it.

Thankfully, there is enough of that fun middle section that the viewer won’t leave the film disappointed too much – despite the cliched ending and obvious “let this be a lesson to all” vibe that runs rampant throughout. Cheesy and way overboard, this film desperately tries to hide that preachy feel too many teen films hone in on. Sadly, it succeeds in only becoming more transparent. A mix between an after-school special and an over-the-top comedy, Teen Wolf turns out to be the very epitome of the 80’s cheesefest.

If you can stomach the after-school special vibe of Teen Wolf, Fox helps the cheese goes down a bit more smoothly with a solid couple of laughs, making the film enjoyable despite it’s flaws.

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