Other than a select few, (namely Ben Wheatley’s Tomb Raider and Rob Letterman’s Detective Pikachu), we all know of the curse of the video-game adaptation. So when an adaptation of Red Storm Entertainment and Ubisoft’s multiplayer VR game Werewolves Within was announced back in October 2018, many held their breath with nervous anticipation. With a solid fan base and a fun premise based on social deduction – which has been incorporated in the recent phenomenon Among Us – Werewolves Within was certainly one of the most exciting premieres at this years Tribeca Film Festival, and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint!
Directed by Josh Ruben, Werewolves Within centres on newcomer Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) as he takes up his new post as the local park ranger in the small town of Beaverfield. However not everything is as it seems, as the rural community has become divided due to a proposed pipeline from businessman Sam Parker (Wayne Duvall). With tensions at a high, a snowstorm descends upon the town and traps the residents in the local inn, with mysterious events beginning to occur, starting with the death of Trish Anderson’s dog and the sabotage of Beaverfield’s generators. As the blizzard ravages on, a mystery creature appears to be behind the attacks, terrorising the bickering community, and it’s up to Finn to discover who the culprit is.
Ruben’s sophomore feature debut is a uniquely entertaining murder-mystery horror-comedy, featuring a brilliantly witty script from Mishna Wolff. This is honestly one of the funniest horror-comedies I’ve seen in a while – each of the cast understands the assignment to a T, establishing a hilarious small-town bickering dynamic. This is a truly fun whodunnit, think Knives Out/Clue with a sprinkle of the Coen Brothers Fargo-esque humour, with some surprising twists and turns along the way. It’s clear that something isn’t quite right in Beaverfield, with events escalating at a surprisingly quick pace thanks to the brisk 97 minute runtime. There’s certainly a lot to like about this horror comedy flick, resulting in an impressive re-watchability factor. It’s definitely a highlight of my festival viewings!
The hugely talented ensemble cast hilariously exploits stereotypes and the hugely quirky/eccentric nature of small town characters for brilliant effect, think Edgar Wright’s Somerset setting of Hot Fuzz. The Tomorrow War’s Sam Richardson is once again absolutely brilliant, bringing a sweet and endearing nature to the ranger, along with plenty of laughs. His dynamic with co-star Milana Vayntrub is another highlight, with the pair attempting to solve the mystery while developing a cute duo act, the latter also brings a surprising amount of depth to the role. Another highlight is What We Do in the Shadows star Harvey Guillén as Joaquim Wolfson, the youngest of seven children who’s still hilariously obsessed with Argentinian folklore regarding seventh borns becoming werewolves.
The stylish production and snappy editing is also reminiscent of Edgar Wright flicks, ramping up the tension throughout. There’s plenty of mis-direction throughout too, keep you guessing until the very end. Hilariously, the shenanigans involving the werewolf are comically almost low-budget, with an old-school vibe thanks to the design and prosthetics.
Werewolves Within is a rare howler of a horror-comedy which keeps you entertained and guessing throughout thanks to the brilliantly sharp script and fantastic performances. Definitely a real highlight from Tribeca Film Festival 2021!