REVIEW: Werewolves Within (2021)

dir. Josh Ruben.

Forest ranger Finn (Sam Richardson) is a nice guy, or perhaps – with an early scene showing him listening to a motivational tape about being more assertive – he’s too nice. Apparently walked over by his partner and stationed to a new posting in mountainside Beavertown, his neighbourliness is about to be put to the test when it emerges that one of the local residents may in fact by lycanthrope.

Writer Mishna Wolff (yes, really) etches out a roster of unusual suspects with a deft and witty script, characters swiftly drawn in bold strokes and invigorated by fantastic performances: from Post Person Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) to innkeeper Jeanine (Catherine Curtin), pipeline capitalist Sam (Wayne Duvall) and environmentalist Dr Ellis (Rebecca Henderson) – as well as a colourful supporting cast – everyone could be a potential killer, or victim.

Structurally Wolff also blends a Christie-esque whodunnit with horror tropes as Beavertown is cut off from the outside world by a snowstorm and the townsfolk begin to suspect that something’s afoot (or perhaps, apaw). Director Ruben too keeps things finely balanced between knockabout dialogue, intrigue and the perpetual threat of man-eating violence. If the latter is a little restrained – never fully chowing down into the excess one might expect – the result is nevertheless delightful meal of genre fusion food.

Added together these ingredients transform Werewolves Within into that rarest of beasts: a computer-game adaptation (it’s based on Ubisoft’s title of the same name) that is in fact very good, and one sure to appeal to both horror and mystery fans alike.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tim Coleman

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