Werewolves in the movie review. While the bar is sadly low, Werewolves Within stands out from almost every film adaptation video game to date. With Werewolves Within, Ubisoft embarks on films with director Josh Ruben (whose first Scare Me effort was an impressive example of effective narrative dialogue with imagination and clever visual representation) producing a comedic horror spin on the classic thriller formula. , inspired in part by the VR game of the same name.
In the game, players are left in a remote location and must deduce which of them is secretly a werewolf. It also serves as a model for the film’s story, but while there is a mystery to be solved, it takes a back seat to the interactions between a very colorful cast of characters that range from cheerfully optimistic to downright silly.
The werewolves in the movie review
Our guide for this tale is Ranger Finn Wheeler (played by Detroiters’ Sam Richardson, and I Think You Should Leave Fame), newly settled in the snow-swept little town of Beaverfield. There are only a handful of locals around, but there is an ongoing battle between them over a pipeline project, some eager to sell for a big profit and others fiercely opposed to it. may their isolated home be stripped of the beauty of nature. Finn is guided around town by another newcomer to Postwoman Cecily, who feels like the only sympathetic person in the lot for Finn.
Before Finn can even settle into his room at the local hostel, a snowstorm intensifies to the point of cutting off electricity to the whole town, causing locals to descend on the hostel, to looking for answers. Unfortunately for them, not only is the electricity cut, but the only entry or exit route is buried in snow. Oh, and there’s a corpse outside, apparently mutilated by a wild beast.
As the evidence begins to mount and the attacks escalate, it becomes clear that there is a lycanthrope among them. Then begins a mad race against the clock to find out who eats the rest of the city, and if they have any ulterior motives for doing so. Comedy is the key element of this genre cocktail, with a cast more than capable of bringing out the weird and wacky in their respective roles. Richardson’s needy Ranger Wheeler holds things together with a sincere belief in finding the good in everyone (which is put to the test by the residents of Beaverville).
His “flaw” of being too strong-willed and kind has repeatedly put him in dire straits with his professional life and his relationship, hence his arrival in this un-idyllic rural town. There’s a running joke about Mr. Rogers right from the film’s opening quote, and Richardson personifies the demeanor of the late great man, but with an emotional baggage that makes him more believable as an ordinary man.
Without Richardson’s performance, the constant stream of jokes, lines, and deliberately silly dialogue from the townspeople wouldn’t work as well. Residents include nervous innkeeper Catherine Curtin, Jeanine, tech-snobby gay millionaires Joaquim and Devon, quirky environmentalist Dr. Ellis, trashy couple Gwen and Marcus, and the man vying to buy the residents for its gas pipeline, chasing the “enthusiast” Sam Parker.
However, the most interesting and funniest characters are Milana Vayntrub’s Cecily (who has a very sweet, but sour, energetic back-and-forth with Richardson’s Ranger Wheeler) and Trisha, the deranged and obsessed aspiring store owner. by the dogs of Michaela Watkin. In the case of both characters, one could argue that they have moments of boring behavior. Cecily may be just a little too cute with her words, and Trisha a little too shrill and screaming for too long, but these annoyances ultimately serve the characters better in the long run once their stories are told.
The actual plot and the mystery itself are written very lightly, with the film’s main intention being to bring these characters together and let them face off with funny, quirky, barbed wire exchanges. The problem with this is that the film also has a strong constraint on showing a werewolf for much of its runtime. So anyone who goes exclusively for a werewolf movie and / or a compelling thriller will walk away somewhat deflated by Werewolves Within’s relative lack of the two.
And yet, these aforementioned exchanges more than make up for it. Between some fruity and spicy writings by Mishna Wolff, and the delivery by Richardson, Vayntrub et al, Werewolves Within caught my attention in the same way that Krampus or, perhaps more accurately, Arachnophobia (which Josh Ruben cited as the stone of key for this movie). The small town issues and quirks are pretty interesting on their own, but when you add a signature creature element to the mix, it amplifies the writing and the performance.
Perhaps Werewolves Within could have done away with a few extra teeth onscreen and offered a few more legitimate suspects in its murder mystery, but that comes with its own risks on a relatively small budget. Too many werewolf means he’s menacing to observe from the get-go, and with the tone of the movie and the actual reveal, I’m not sure designing the movie for a werewolf would have helped in the previous scenes. .
Making the murder mystery too complex may have hampered the character’s job, and given that these people are largely obnoxious, ignorant, and / or naive, giving them a difficult mystery to solve would seem unrealistic. The fact that it seemed obvious to me who had committed the murder struck me as intentional. Sure, a reasonable, well-adjusted person could understand that very well, but when you have a bunch of resentful idiots, I can understand why they don’t see the woods for the trees.
I’ve already appreciated Josh Ruben’s skills with Scare Me, which also relied a lot on his trades and character work, but with Werewolves Within there is more confidence in his work. It’s not the deepest snow flurry on the horror comedy mountain, but it’s definitely one of the most fun to snorkel.
Werewolves Within is in general release on VoD platforms from Monday, July 19, 2021.
Review filter kindly provided by Ubisoft.