Werewolves Within

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Mishna Wolff adapts the video game Werewolves Within keenly, using the mafia-style format of the game as a means of examining and satirizing the cultural divides within our nation. She also seems to be pretty savvy when it comes to the horror movie genre, injecting little in-jokes and comic asides that are designed specifically for fans of the genre. Josh Ruben’s directing is pretty straight, saving comical close-ups and inserts for very specific moments in able to get their most subversive effects. Though Wolff and Ruben never reach the same level of cultural relevance as one sees in Joe Dante’s The Howling (1981), Werewolves Within (2021) still packs a punch in the arena of social commentary.

It’s not only highly entertaining, but this modest little film also boasts one of the most endearing protagonists I have seen in a movie for a very long time. Sam Richardson’s Finn Wheeler is endlessly likable, quirky, and self aware enough to carry the film through its roughest patches. Milana Vayntrub is equally as good as Wheeler’s would-be love interest, though her character takes a back seat during the second act. The greatest weakness of the film is that not enough characters in the ensemble manage to transcend caricature.

Like Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die (2019), Werewolves Within proves that there’s still more gold to mine in the horror-comedy genre. Wisely, both films are a fusion of different genre elements, giving them a fresher and more unique quality than the droves of Scream (1996) imitators that continue to delude the genre to this day.