An unexpected gem of a movie hit streaming services this last week in the form of horror comedy WEREWOLVES WITHIN, a whodunnit Clue-style flick that uses one of horrors most beloved creatures: the lycanthrope. The film is based on a VR video game of the same name that was released back in 2006, and was adapted into a screenplay by Mishna Wolff who did an unbelievable job putting together one hell of a hilarious yet thrilling horror comedy that honestly has equal parts of both genre! You'll find yourself laughing at the same time you're trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together - and all the while, slayings continue to plague the small woodsy town of Beaverfield. There's a suspected werewolf amongst the townsfolk and as people begin dying or getting attacked, all the neighbors begin pointing fingers at who they suspect who possesses a beast within themself. Think Knives Out but with both a werewolf and more comedic twist to it; a fantastic recipe that not only fares well on paper, but more than does its job as a hysterical yet somewhat serious horror that will quite literally leave you on the edge of your seat until the credits roll! I honestly had fun with this flick from the very first minute and it held a King Kong sized grasp of my attention the entire hour and thirty seven minute runtime; and with all the drama and bickering and chaos going on, there's even parts of the film where you'll find yourself even forgetting that this is a werewolf movie because there's just so much craziness going on! Werewolves Within is an absolute blast and would make for a fangtastic stay-in date night movie - as long as your date isn't on the menu like they are in the film! What movies like this one desperately need are characters that the audience will fucking love to continue to see on screen, and actors who slay their portrayals - and Werewolves Within nailed it right on the head. Sam Richardson and Milana Vayntrub play the two lead characters in the film, but they are joined by a ton of other actors who all bring these amazing characters to life, all with their sick insecurities and subtle animosity and distrust of each other. And it all comes to light as they turn on each other in an attempt to save themselves from being eaten. Werewolves Within is one of the most must-see films I could recommend this year so far, and one that I will definitely be adding permanently to my collection!
Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) is a forest ranger who gets assigned to a new post in Beaverfield, a town which is in the middle of a dilemma as a pipeline offer is dividing residents over the selling of their land for construction use. Upon his arrival, he is introduced to Cecily Moore (Milana Vayntrub) - a mail carrier who takes him around the small town to meet the rest of the residents before heading back to the towns inn owned by Jeanine Sherman (Catherine Curtin). When one of the residents dog gets eaten by a predator, they come together to try and figure out what exactly is going on - and it is then that the power goes out, and Finn discovers that not only has the generators been slashed open (by what looks like claws), but the husband of the innkeeper has been horribly slain by what appears to be the same predator who ate the dog. And thus began the werewolf accusations, as the townsfolk lock themselves up in the inn trying to protect themselves and ride out the winter storm that has shut down travel outside of the town. But even once locked inside, the violence doesn't end - and neighbors begin really turning on each other and pointing fingers at each other trying to figure out reasons why one might consume thy neighbor. Who in the group is the werewolf? Is there even a werewolf? And why do all these neighbors distrust each other so much? Find out in... WEREWOLVES WITHIN! (Readers beware: the following may contain spoilers! Continue at your own risk!)
As I previously mentioned, the real thing that makes this film as good as it is is one simple thing: its characters. If it wasn't for the hilariously crafted townsfolk and the people that play them, this film wouldn't be a quarter as good as it is. I think the writing of each character - giving them their wittiness or their craziness or their humbleness or whatever it is that defines them - was absolutely spot on and vital to the success of this film. And the film knocks it right out of the park when it comes to this. Of course, Richardson steals the performance as the forest ranger Finn, because he is a simple, lovable, and genuinely nice guy who is thrown into a town of batshit insane neighbors, and he really tries his best to make sense of everything and keep everyone safe. Richardson makes this movie as good as it is! I seriously could go on and on about it, but yeah, killer job.
When it comes to the actual werewolf/horror/mystery part of the film, Werewolves Within - again - fucking slays it. In an attempt to not give too much away, let me just say this: my only disappointment with the film - and it's not a make or break by any means - is the transformation scene. What's the best part of a werewolf movie?! It's the transformation scene; its waiting for the human-to-werewolf transformation in all its disgusting, horrific, painful glory. While there is a transformation scene in the film, it's incredible brief and not really detailed, almost like it was quickly done to skip having to work out an entire skin-breaking scene, which I understand could be hard to do. The character pretty much transforms in the blink of an eye, and the story just continues. My one wish for Werewolves Within would be for a more in depth transformation scene. Regardless, it doesn't do nearly enough damage to take away from the sheer awesomeness and brutality of the flick. And the film gives you numerous opportunities for you to change your opinion on who you think the werewolf is, twisting and turning you down this blood soaked path of betrayal and lack of trust. I had so much fun trying to put little clues together and figure out where the film was going, and let me just say this: the last fifteen minutes of the film are definitely worth sticking around for. The payoff is well worth the journey to it. Overall, the film became an instant gem for me and I'm sure I'll be re-watching numerous times by the time Halloween rolls around. I think it is absolutely worth your hard earned money and valuable time, if you don't like the story and its plot twists, you'll at least laugh for sure. Check it out!!!