WEREWOLVES WITHIN (2021) Reviews and overview

 

Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, Catherine Curtin, Harvey Guillen, Cheyenne Jackson, George Basil and Sarah Burns in WEREWOLVES WITHIN

Werewolves Within is a 2021 comedy horror film and an adaptation of the video game where werewolves attack a medieval town. Unlike the game, the movie’s setting is contemporary.

Directed by Josh Ruben (Scare Me) from a screenplay written by Mishna Wolff, based on the virtual reality video game by Ubisoft. Produced by Jason Altman, Margaret Boykin, and Andrew Lieberman for Ubisoft Film & Television; Matt Miller, Natalie Metzger, and Benjamin Wiessner for Vanishing Angle; and Sam Richardson.

The movie stars Sam Richardson (Veep; Detroiters), Milana Vayntrub (This is Us), George Basil (Crashing), Sarah Burns (Barry), Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall (The Hunt), Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows), Rebecca Henderson (Russian Doll), Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock), Michaela Watkins (Brittany Runs a Marathon) and Glenn Fleshler (True Detective).

Plot:

After a proposed gas pipeline creates divisions within the small town of Beaverfield, and 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 terrorising the community…

Reviews:

Werewolves Within is less interested in werewolves and more interested in exploring how the possibility of one hiding in plain sight can turn a town inside out. It does so by tilting the scale heavily in favor of comedy over scares […] plays like a joyous hug of a comedy-horror movie full of charisma, violent antics, and entertaining character-driven mystery.” Bloody Disgusting

Werewolves Within is certainly not an action movie (which was disappointing but not surprising) but it does have some action-packed moments in the final act of the film. What it does do really well is the classic “who done it” with the added bonus of wondering if there is really a werewolf in the town at all. Good performances throughout from all the cast…” Bulletproof Action

“Even if your theories (and mine) are thrown out the window with every passing victim, it doesn’t mean Werewolves Within isn’t having just as much fun. Be warned, though. Subvert your expectations if you’re dead set on a centerpiece transformation involving extensive animatronics and practical effects.” Dread Central

Director Josh Ruben does a great job of setting everything up in a tight first act […] The cracks quickly appear before it descends into a deadly game where accusations and axes are thrown with wilful abandon and tongue firmly in cheek. Werewolves Within is an entertaining lycan-throwback to 80s genre cinema and a murder mystery with real bite.” Flick Feast

“This was Agatha Christie with fangs and fur. A horror-comedy gem featuring some of the best comic actors around. Ruben’s good-guy sensibility in directing paired with Wolff’s subversive plotting and dialogue is endlessly entertaining […] Go ahead and bite into this little nugget of horror-comedy heaven.” Horror Buzz

” …often makes fun of tropes that have been overused in big blockbusters, [Josh Ruben] not only benefits from visual gags but also Mishna Wolff‘s creative and witty screenplay. The jokes didn’t always land for me, but there’s so many of them you’ll definitely find the overall experience enjoyable. There’s a specific politically interesting undertone that intrigued me…” Into: Screens

“With quotable dialogue, stylish small-town hijinks, and a cast that’s game for literally anything, Werewolves Within is one majorly fun howler.” Josh at the Movies

“In terms of the horror portion of the film, there are bits and pieces scattered throughout. But it’s not really the scary time–at least not until maybe the film’s final ten minutes. Trust me, this film runs more to the comedy side of things.” Solzy at the Movies

Werewolves Within is light on actual horror. There are a few jump scares, but despite the R rating, there’s only a couple of bloody effects. The emphasis is solidly on mystery and laughs rather than shocks. Even the final showdown, while exciting, is laced with gags. It still manages to be scarier than Hunter’s Moon though.” Voices from the Balcony

Release date:

IFC Films will release Werewolves Within theatrically on June 25th 2021 and On-Demand and Digital on July 2nd 2021.

Director’s statement:

I grew up near the same small town where we shot Werewolves Within. As a kid, I’d freak myself out, making up monster stories, running through the woods, pretending I was Chief Brody, fighting creatures in the brush (I loved Jaws — hell, I loved horror). That hometown experience, where neighbours knew your business (whether you liked it or not) is so much of what makes Werewolves so personal. But, as much as I love horror movies, nothing scares me more than people. And as much as this movie is a homage to my love for Hot Fuzz, the Coen Brothers, and Arachnophobia, it’s also about the monster in all of us.

This movie is a tribute to those of us who are resolute that good conquers evil, and that “being good” is the best weapon we’ve got, against guns, knives, even claws… Sometimes, you just gotta be a good neighbour, no matter how wicked people are.”

Blurb:

“We found a perfect home for our first independently produced feature with IFC,” said Jason Altman, Head of Ubisoft Film & Television. “Their enthusiasm, taste, and strategy in a complicated marketplace continues to impress us, and we can’t wait to bring this film to fans of the game and larger audiences alike.”

Arianna Bocco, President at IFC Films said, “Werewolves Within is a wild and hilarious film adaptation of Ubisoft’s genius original game concept and we are so thrilled to bring this entertaining whodunnit to audiences this summer. Josh Ruben who arrived with Scare Me, has assembled an incredible cast to bring his newest vision to light, and we’re sure it will leave audiences clutching their popcorn and howling from laughter.

More werewolf movies

Teaser trailer:

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MOVIES and MANIA verdict:

Josh Ruben’s Scare Me was meta-fun if a tad overlong. Unfortunately, Werewolves Within is filled with clichéd supposedly wacky characters and this reviewer found it painfully unfunny (successful comedy is very subjective, of course). Puerile attempts at camp are repeated ad infinitum but rarely hit home. The ability to mug to the camera seems to have been the criteria for casting.

Beyond its ham-fisted humour, the mystery element, with most deaths occurring offscreen, is astonishingly underdeveloped. And perhaps ‘Werewolves Without’ would have been more appropriate due to the lack of lycanthrope activity? Finn exclaims: “Is there even a werewolf?” Quite.

Then again, the video game seems to be all talk and no werewolf…