Review: Simon’s Quest

Written and directed by Marley Jaeger, Simon (Johnny Pozzi) a gay werewolf, who must come to terms with his condition in order to start dating again, or else condemn himself to a life alone. Also starring: Talley Gale, Lucas Brahme, Timothy J. Cox, Liz Days, Anibal Nobel, Krystal K.C. Wilson, Aaron Badilla, Gavin Fonseca and James Tison.

The supernatural has been pretty well covered in film in recent years but still the phrase ‘gay werewolf’ is easy to peak interest, it’s certainly not something you hear everyday and intriguing to what it can add to the genre. The film presents itself in a way that while it suits the mockumentary genre, it would likely slide well into the dramedy category, it’s mostly a drama but with a comedic edge. It’s a surprise that it doesn’t lean more on the comedy side of things but that mostly comes through as a secondary aspect. There are some clear and funny jokes thrown in along the way but a lot of the time they don’t come with a punch or bang, they simmer in the background so some are more effective than others. Opening on the classic American evangelist style commercial but tweaked to be a monster hunter was a clever choice and it sets the tone well, smoothly segueing into Simon’s story.

Pozzi does a great job as Simon, he’s very natural and has a good level of emotion, never going too far into the dramatics and it’s entirely relatable. Gale and Brahme provide great support, their attempts to help Simon out of his furry shell are sweet and kind, they make an enjoyable trio to watch. There isn’t a weak member of the cast, when the film segues into Simon’s monster support group, which almost feels reminiscent of Wreck it Ralph’s Bad-Anon: villain support group, it provides stand out moments from Days and Cox.

The film has a palpable nerdy awkwardness to it, it’s not in the difficult to watch sense, it’s the down to earth, shy, quiet style that nicely reflects Simon’s personality. It’s also very interesting to explore his anxiety through his werewolf-ism, it makes a surprisingly effective combination and it’s very relatable and relevant. You could possibly say that making Simon a gay werewolf while the film is an allegory on the treatment of gay people, is a little too obvious, it could have been handled in a more subtle way to let the metaphor come through without being forced. It does also feel like it’s moving into being a representation of HIV patients and their concerns of being a danger to others and striving to work on living life in a safe way without having to become sheltered. As well as a brief exploration of the moral ethics of killing ‘monsters’ and the ambiguity of its definition. It has a few different layers to its story and it was a great way to tell it by using something very accessible and funny to ease into the bigger picture.

Using being a werewolf as a metaphor for prejudice towards the LGBTQ community was a brilliant idea, it presents a more meaningful story but in a nicely accessible package that doesn’t try too hard to delve into politics or become over dramatic. It has a very relatable style, that’s natural and perfectly awkward and the performances are solid by all involved. It would have been nice to see it push a little harder on the comedy, it was ripe for it and the timing of some of the jokes misses the mark unfortunately but some are stronger. It’s a clever concept, well executed and an enjoyable watch with a satisfying ending.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯

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