Thursday, June 17, 2021

Werewolves Within Review: An Over-The-Top Lycanthrope Whodunit

Sam Richardson	...	Finn Milana Vayntrub	Milana Vayntrub	...	Cecily George Basil	George Basil		 Sarah Burns	Sarah Burns		 Michael Chernus	Michael Chernus	...	Pete Catherine Curtin	Catherine Curtin	...	Jeanine Wayne Duvall	Wayne Duvall		 Harvey Guillén	Harvey Guillén		 Rebecca Henderson	Rebecca Henderson		 Cheyenne Jackson	Cheyenne Jackson		 Michaela Watkins	Michaela Watkins		 Glenn Fleshler	Glenn Fleshler	...	Emerson Flint Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Anni Krueger	Anni Krueger	...	Charlotte

Release date: June 25, 2021 (Theaters) and July 2, 2021 (Digital)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed By: Josh Ruben
Written By: Mishna Wolff 
Starring: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillén, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, and Glenn Fleshler

After a proposed 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 terrorizing the community.

Jason Altman	...	producer Margaret Boykin	...	producer Andrew Lieberman	...	producer Justus McLarty	...	co-producer Natalie Metzger	...	producer Matt Miller	...	producer Sam Richardson	...	producer Benjamin Wiessner	...	producer
Werewolves Within is the second feature film from Josh Ruben after the well received and imaginative Scare Me.  It takes place in a mountain town, has some quirky and funny characters, and even has plenty of scenes at night in dimly lit rooms.  But Werewolves Within is more extreme in every way, and that is a good thing.  The film has a similar feel and many of the same ideas to the earlier effort.  The movie starts with a funny quote that it makes appear sinister to let you know what kind of movie you are getting.  The cast in Werewolves Within is large, and full of strange and quirky characters.  This mountain town is occupied by a host of people that have varying interests in the future of the town and the current life-threatening predicament, which makes the for an interesting array of characters to meet during this endeavor.  And their quirks help with the humor, as no matter how dire the situation someone has a strange outlook or quirky statement to add to the scene.

If there are negatives to this film, it is that the cast of characters are almost too large.  I had a little trouble distinguishing some of the individuals, or remembering how we knew them.  The large cast means that I didn't get to spend much time with them, and when the action started to get more frenzied, it made it tough to feel anything when characters died.  And although the cast is quite large and fun to see, the stars are Richardson as the new ranger in town and Vayntrub as the mail person.  They have great chemistry on screen and they are both likable and level headed during this insane predicament.  They're fun to watch on screen and are easy to root for during this harrowing ordeal.  

But Werewolves Within is a fun whodunit experience.  The film is based on a video game, but other than the Ubisoft logo at the start, you wouldn't notice anything particularly gamey about the film.  I did notice that there was a decent amount of colored lights and neon, which might be a hint to the game or could just be a nice use of lighting.  Although Werewolves Within starts as a horror film, it quickly turns into more of a whodunit.  The characters and tracking of a murder give it a Clue or Knives Out vibe, and the overall ridiculousness of it is fun to see.  As the characters get more stressed and volatile, the film evolves (or devolves) into a funny, over the top murder mystery with a constantly growing body count.  And as this all grows, the strangeness of the film begins to become infectious, making you love this overall odd but enjoyable movie.  

Werewolves Within has a quirky cast of characters, a dark sense of humor, and an over-the-top ridiculousness that will keep you entertained and guessing throughout this horror whodunit.

Watch it.

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Werewolves Within is available in theaters on June 25, 2021 and on Digital Rental & VOD on July 2, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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