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Werewolves Within - Movie Review

Werewolves Within

Filmmaker Josh Ruben and Mishna Wolff have pulled off a near miracle with Werewolves Within, their wildly entertaining big screen adaptation of Ubisoft’s popular video game of the same name.

As if bucking the recent trend of video-game-to-feature-film failure wasn’t challenge enough, throw in the inherent difficulties of pulling off a successful horror comedy, and you have a near impossible task.

"Full of kinetic energy and with its own unique vibe, Werewolves Within is plenty funny throughout"


Then again, Ruben and Wolff aren’t your average filmmakers. While Ruben’s directorial debut, Scare Me, went largely under the radar with fans last year during Covid closures, it was an undeniable smash with critics and showed his propensity for the genre. And though Werewolves Within marks Wolff’s screenwriting debut, her whip-smart dialogue, quirky characters, and engaging whodunnit plot prove perfect for a film like this. This is their film, and they absolutely nail it.

And neither is Werewolves Within your ordinary Werewolf movie. It begins with an ominous score playing under a title card quote espousing the art of listening, and the importance of being a good neighbor. A frightening auditory jump scare rattles the room as the author of the quote is revealed to be… Mister Rogers. Yes, that Mister Rogers. And that’s pretty much the irreverent tone that follows as the film expertly mixes heaping helpings of both humor and gore. Between bouts of rolling on the floor with laughter, this tale about the monsters within our own selves will have you contemplating its bigger themes of being a good neighbor and how that might clash with today’s every-man-for-himself mindset.

The film opens in Beaverfield, a bucolic little Vermont town where the most excitement the town has known comes from the brewing controversy over a proposed pipeline due to cut the town in half, both literally and figuratively. Some of the town’s residents want the money the pipeline will bring, others fear the environmental impact the project may have on their town.Werewolves Within

Left to help sort out the hullabaloo is the new park ranger in town, Ranger Finn (Sam Richardson, TV’s Veep) who checks into the local inn where he meets the emotional inn owner Jeanine (Catherine Curtain, Stranger Things), the town’s new postal carrier Cecily (Milana Vayntrub, TV's AT&T commercials), oil man Sam Parker (Wayne Duvall, Lincoln), and a whole host of local townies, one of whom may be the blood-thirsty being responsible for the death of the innkeeper’s husband, and the recent power outage caused by what looks like purposeful damage to the town’s backup generators. Just like what is becoming more and more the norm in today’s society, resentment and petty bickering might be the townspeople’s biggest enemies.

Full of kinetic energy and with its own unique vibe, Werewolves Within is plenty funny throughout, as it plays out mostly like the game, where we suspect one of the town’s inhabitants is doing the killing and it is left up to the remaining characters to figure out who might be the werewolf-like creature. It feels like a cross between Murder on the Orient Express, Clue, and anything from the Coen Brothers, only with a tinge of Edgar Wright thrown in for good laughs. But when all is said and done, we realize that it’s less about the killer, and more about recognizing our own personal flaws and learning to cope with the fear that can grip a community. How’s that for a timely message?

4/5 stars

 

Film Details

Werewolves Within

MPAA Rating: R for some bloody violence, sexual references and language throughout.
Runtime:
97 mins
Director
: Josh Ruben
Writer:
Mishna Wolff
Cast:
Sam Richardson; Milana Vayntrub; George Basil
Genre
: Comedy | Horror
Tagline:
A Whodunnit With Teeth.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I had no idea how small time I was until I met you."
Theatrical Distributor:
IFC Films
Official Site: https://www.ifcfilms.com/films/werewolves-within
Release Date:
July 2, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A proposed gas pipeline has created divisions within the small town of Beaverfield. When a snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Sam Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind a mysterious creature that has begun terrorizing the community.

Art

Werewolves Within

 

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