Werewolves Within (2021)

werewolves within poster 2021 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10


Could have done more with the mystery, characters

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Werewolves Within

Studio:  Mister Smith Entertainment/Ubisoft Film and Television/Ubisoft

Genre(s):  Horror/Comedy/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  June 16, 2021 (Tribeca Film Festival)/June 25, 2021 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

werewolves within finn wheeler cecily moore sam richardson milana vayntrub

This town is whack

Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) is a forest ranger newly assigned to the small wooded town of Beaverville.  Beaverville is facing a crisis with Sam Parker (Wayne Duvall) trying to purchase rights to run a pipeline through the town, and the whole town is on edge.  When a snowstorm and a power outage cuts off the entire town, Finn discovers that there might be something more in Beaverville than the neighborly squabbles:  A werewolf…maybe.  Teamed with postal worker Cecily Moore (Milana Vayntrub), Finn tries to suss out the truth as the bodies start to pile up…and the real killer will be revealed.

Directed by Josh Ruben, Werewolves Within is a horror-mystery-comedy.  The film is based on the Red Storm Entertainment 2016 video game and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to positive reviews.

werewolves within gwen marcus sam parker wayne duvall george basil sarah burns

Let’s kill us some werewolves!

Video game movies are often a straight “no” from viewers.  There have been very few good video game adaptations…Werewolves Within succeeds by not being much of a video game adaptation.  Due to aspects of the script, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

The game is basically a liars’ game with everyone trying to mislead everyone else.  This translates to a script well by just simply being what it is…a mystery.  The movie borrows from movies like Ten Little Indians, The Thing, and the British werewolf mystery movie The Beast Must Die to craft a new mystery of survival with a comedy theme.  While the movie moves and shakes decently, it does feel like there could have been even more plot twists, mysteries, and intrigue (especially near the end).

werewolves within milana vayntrub harvey guillen

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Sam Richardson is charming as the literal “nice guy” who is trying to restart his life (it would have been a fun twist if he had actually been the werewolf), but he is surrounded by some of the biggest jerks on the screen.  Each of the characters in the town is largely a stereotype from the gay couple played by Cheyenne Jackson and Harvey Guillén to the industrialist played by Wayne Duvall to the scientist played by Rebecca Henderson.  Everyone is a stereotype by design but that doesn’t necessarily make them very interesting, and it feels like the stereotypes should have come into play more in trying to determine who the werewolf was by biasing people.

The movie isn’t very visual and at points feels oddly shot with strange focal perspectives (possibly intentional to tie in with the game which is a VR game).  There is a bit of a werewolf transformation scene which is expected but Werewolves Within doesn’t even try to compete with other films like American Werewolf in London or The Howling which always provide gold standards.

werewolves within cecily moore werewolf milana vayntrub

Ace of Base gets me wolfing

The mystery comes out a bit obvious by how the film plays out.  Milana Vayntrub is revealed to be the wolf which makes sense since she is one of the only fleshed out and rounded characters.  That helps the audience identify with her (and her character to connect with Finn), but it doesn’t fit the pattern and it feels like she was the obvious choice as a result.  I would have actually liked it better if wild man hunter Emerson Flint (Glenn Fleshler) was the werewolf with the idea that sometimes the simplest answers are the right answers since he is set-up as a red herring throughout the film.

Werewolves Within is a fun movie and it is relatively short (which is also a blessing).  I think there was room for improvement in the story, but what was given the viewers was good.  I definitely feel like this could be set-up as a franchise with either carryover characters or all new murder mysteries, and I would welcome the chance to find the Werewolves Within again.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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