REVIEW / FILM OPINION – In “Teddy”, the excellent Anthony Bajon plays a young man convinced that he is turning into a werewolf. What trigger the horror in Occitania … And the trip inside?
Teddy : the misfit
After the Normandy of Willy 1er, Ludovic Boukherma and Zoran Boukherma settled in a small village in the Pyrénées-Orientales, where the presence ofa wolf who attacks herds of sheep annoys and frightens the inhabitants. Among them is Teddy, 19, who left school very early and lives on the margins of other young people in his town.
Temporary, Teddy works as a masseur and has almost no family, apart from his disabled auntie and his friend Pépin. Dreaming of a better life, he plans to build a house to move in with his girlfriend Rebecca, a 17-year-old high school student.
His plans are turned upside down when he is done bite by a beast. Teddy is then the victim of phenomena as strange as they are worrying, like a bit sickening carnivorous impulses, nocturnal unconsciousness and sudden appearances of hairs in incongruous places.
A successful metamorphosis
The introductory scene of Teddy sets the tone and immediately reveals the balance on which the feature film is based. Evoking many openings from horror films involving a creature, she obviously plays on the invisibility of the latter but still offers a generous splash of blood. The humor is immediately noticeable but does not deride the supposed presence of the monster.
If they constantly have fun on the quirky side of situations, the Boukherma brothers fully assume the genre in which their film is anchored. In this he recalls The werewolf of London, even if it deviates from it in many other aspects. Where the classic John Landis revealed early on the transformation of the character played by David Naughton and owed a lot to the effects of Rick Baker, Teddy opt for the suggestion. A choice partly due to technical constraints, as explained by the writers and directors, and which can be a little frustrating during the final.
However, the duo is not stingy in proposals that are not very tasty. The protagonist’s mutation is organic, progressive and at the origin of several memorable sequences which have their effect. This is the case, for example, when the hero discovers his hairy tongue and tries to remedy this problem in his own way. If the economy of means is felt, it in no way detracts from the charm of Teddy, which sits somewhere between the cinema of Joe Dante, Quentin Dupieux and Raymond Depardon.
The revenge of the loser
The originality of the Boukherma brothers is always at the service of the evolution of the main character, masterfully embodied by Anthony Bajon, revealed in particular by Prayer. Teddy is alternately mocking, nonchalant, vulgar, loving, romantic, kind, scared and violent. When he shares his vision of the future with Rebecca, played by Christine Gautier, the hero is particularly touching. From the beginning of the film, the directors slip notes of emotion which will prove to be crucial for the last part. His devotion to his aunt and his friendship with Pépin also offer beautiful moments of tenderness. First brought between two touches of humor, they end up taking precedence in the last surprising minutes.
Teddy’s transformation intensifies as the humiliations with regard to him are multiplying and that his frustration intensifies. Sexually harassed by his boss Ghislaine (Noémie Lvovsky, brilliant), mocked for his disastrous education, ignored by the gendarmes to whom he asks questions and forced to do precarious jobs that he does not like, he appears to many as the village idiot, sympathetic but ignorant. The Boukherma brothers love their protagonist and never look at him with pity. They prefer to build him a seesaw in coherent horror, until a final scene with tragic overtones which is completely taken aback.
Teddy by Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma, in theaters on June 30, 2021. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.