LUPERCA RETURNS, a follow-up film to 2015’s Wolf Mother:Hunted, and directed by Alexis Ramirez, finds Luperca (Terri Claire) in bad shape. She’s lost her power – her drive – anything that made her a “She-Wolf’, wolf mother. She finds herself wandering the streets, looking for purpose- and looking for prey. She’s all but lost hope when Marigold (Caitlyn Geiler) shows up. She promises to have something to revive Luperca, assuring her that they’re sisters, and that she’s among friends. When she takes Luperca back to her apartment, her true intentions emerge and Luperca must fight, with all the strength she has left.
It is a marvel that films in this series -which beyond the two I mentioned above, vary widely – continue to get made, with the same level of passion behind them. LUPERCA RETURNS, according to IMDb, had an estimated budget of $360. If that doesn’t scream “passion project”, I don’t know what does. From a production standpoint, it seems like the budget went to contact lenses (of several colors and kinds), and wolf claws. I can’t tell if the actors wore their own clothes or not, obviously, but the “low budget” energy is strong. There are lighting issues, sound issues, and a whole section of the film that I get the distinct impression was filmed on an iPhone.
As a forever champion for low budget and independent filmmakers, I applaud the LUPERCA RETURNS team for accomplishing what they’ve accomplished here. It’s difficult to put forward work at all in a world that doesn’t want the little guy to succeed. Alexis Ramirez has poured his heart and soul into this series, and recently announced Were-Creature Chronicles, a TV series based on these same characters and more, starring Terri Claire.
The performances of LUPERCA RETURNS are not Oscar-worthy, to say the least, but Terri Claire is such a powerhouse that she’s impossible not to enjoy. I can understand building an entire series around her. She’s dynamic, tough, and a perfect wolf mother, even in her human form. Caitlyn Geiler does wonderful work for her film debut, and holds her own against Claire, which says a lot. I absolutely cannot complain about two powerful women in a film, with not a single shred of talk about men, masters, or anything but their own power and intelligence.
LUPERCA RETURNS is not a masterpiece, but it’s a masterwork of love and passion, and really, who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?