Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: An overly sweet and kind ranger is posted in a small town where the construction of a pipeline has divided the townsfolk. Things only get crazier when they suspect a werewolf is picking them off one by one and it’s up to poor Ranger Finn and his new friend Cecily to figure out who the werewolf is before it’s too late.
Review: Last year I came across a horror movie called Scare Me which took the concept of telling scary stories around the campfire and added improv styled acting to it. It was a match made in horror heaven and Scare Me turned out to be one of my favourite genre films of that year. Well, creator and director Josh Ruben is back and once again applies his unique style on another sub-genre of horror, the creature feature, with the creature in this case being another favorite of mine, the werewolf.
Your enjoyment of Werewolves Within will depend heavily on whether or not you like your horror straight-up or with a twist. This horror comedy is about a sweet and loveable-almost-to-a-fault ranger named Finn (Sam Richardson from comedy series Detroiters and Veep) who is sent to watch over the construction of an oil pipeline that has divided the town. The more progressive folks wants it and the conservatives are afraid of the damage it will do.
Before Finn can settle in he meets a mail-person named Cecily (Milana Vayntrub from This is Us, Mother’s Little Helpers, Lily Adams in those AT&T commercials) who fills him in on all the gossip and the crazy characters who inhabit the sleepy little town, including a hermit-like hunter who lives on the outskirts and who has a thing for guns and his privacy, Emerson Flint (Glenn Fleshler from Joker and Billions) so it makes sense when the townsfolk think a werewolf is in their midst they think it’s Emerson.
When a storm and a power outage traps everyone at the local inn paranoia and distrust, with a healthy dose of political divide and prejudice, takes this mystery werewolf movie and ups the ante in ways you wouldn’t expect.
The strongest aspects of this film by far are the sharp and witty dialogue delivered by the hilarious cast of actors. The improv force is strong with this bunch as a lot of their interactions feel off the cuff which not only adds to the comedic energy of the screenplay but forces the viewer to pay attention as the lines come fast and furious at you.
The horror elements are used sparsely but that’s not to say they aren’t effective. Huben’s direction will suddenly have a character pop into the camera’s frame, delivering both a solid jump scare and a few laughs when you least expect it. While most of the gory stuff is saved for the final act they do make an impact, and as the horror is amped up the comedy is never far behind, which kept the tone of the movie consistent all the way through to the end.
It’s hard to believe this movie was actually adapted from a video game (one I now want to play) and I’m curious to know how those who are familiar with the Ubisoft game feel about this movie as it might arguably be the best video game-to-movie adaptation made so far. But from just a horror fan’s point of view, Werewolves Within is not what I expected when I first sat down to watch.
I love a good werewolf movie but like Superman they aren’t the easiest creatures to make interesting. And even here the werewolf is more of an allegory for what it means to be a good person/neighbour than anything else. So for those looking for a straight-up Man vs Monster movie, I’m sure they’ll walk away from this disappointed. But I would also like to hope they can appreciate the smart, funny and skillful acting and directing that made this movie stand apart from the pack.
Werewolves Within is a werewolf movie with a lot of heart and a simple message (It’s okay to be nice) and it’s most definitely worth checking out.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
So what’s your favourite modern werewolf movie? You can check out more articles to howl about (Get it? Werewolf? Howl? You get it) below:
Top 10 Greatest Werewolf Movies Ever Made (That Aren’t An American Werewolf in London)
Awful Lead Declaws Werewolf Horror ‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow’
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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