I honestly kind of forgot that Ubisoft, aside from developing and publishing video games, have also their own film and television outfit already. They already have the live-action Assassin’s Creed film, the Rabbids animated series and the Mythic Quest comedy show. While they do have their fans, none of them have really lit the movie and television industry on fire. So, when they announced they were making a movie based on their VR game, Werewolves Within, I was kind of surprised. I mean, I didn’t even know they had a game called Werewolves Within! But I did see the trailer and I did think it had potential as it was a comedy and it looked like it was made on a shoestring budget. I thought that I would give it a chance and go see it if it came out over here.
So of course Werewolves Within didn’t pop up in any of the movie theaters where I live. Because of this, I kind of forgot all about out. Flash forward to October of this year and I’m looking around for some horror movie to review for this month. That’s when this crawled out of my mind. So, it’s been a long time coming but here’s my review for Werewolves Within.
Now, although this movie has been out for a good solid year by the time of this writing, I’m going to still make this a SPOILER FREE review. I’m not sure if anyone’s really seen it as it never garnered a wide release and it was a bother to even find a service that was streaming it legitimately. So, yeah, I’m going to make this a SPOILER FREE review.
Werewolves Within takes place in the sleepy town of Beaverfield and Ranger Finn Wheeler has been assigned to keep the peace while the town is in dispute on whether or not to sell their land to businessman Sam Parker, who plans to build an oil pipeline right through town. During the night, the town is snowed in and all contact with the outside world is cut off. This proves to be a worst case scenario as it appears there is a monster lurking in the town of Beaverfield and has chosen this opportunity to start hunting them.
Although the title and the premise of Werewolves Within may lend you to believe it’s a horror comedy, it’s actually not. It’s more like a mystery comedy with you trying to figure out who amongst the townsfolk is the monster. It’s more like the Clue than anything else, with somewhat more forgettable characters.
With this in mind, I will say the actual whodunnit is kind of a mixed bag. You can’t guess who the monster is as the film never gives you enough clues to figure out who it is. In fact, the movie throws a lot of curveballs at the viewer because it shows it might even be possible there isn’t a monster in their midst and just some crazy person making it look like there’s a monster. Once again, it’s a whole lot like Clue as, even though the mystery is supposed to be central to the story, it’s virtually impossible to logically determine who the monster/killer is.
However, it does kind of redeem itself by the end as, once it’s revealed who’s been doing all the killings near the end of the film, things do make a lot of sense. Even the littlest things which may just seem odd is explained and is explained fairly well. It does wrap things up neatly and that attention to detail does make it fun to spot those little nuggets during repeat viewings.
I did mention that most of the characters in Werewolves Within aren’t all that memorable and I stand by that. Which is kind of odd because everyone in the town of Beaverfield is delightfully odd. Sure, they’re pretty much stereotypes but they are fun to watch. The problem is, as they are stereotypes, they need something a little extra to make them stand out among the other movies that feature these stereotypes.
Thankfully, the two exceptions to this are the two main leads, Sam Richardson as the goody-two-shoes Finn Wheeler and the odd and Milana Vayntrub as the quirky and perky mailperson, Cecily Moore. While they both are stereotypes, they both give a really earnest performance with them. I will also have to say the chemistry and comic timing between Sam Richardson and Milana Vanytrub is really good here. Even with the simplest scenes and with very little dialogue, you can see they both work well with each other. The duo have to basically do most of the heavy lifting to make Werewolves Within an engaging watch.
It also certainly helps that the film is briskly paced without feeling rushed. With a generally short runtime of 97 minutes, Werewolves Within does keep things moving forward while never really skipping over anything important to telling a cohesive story. It never feels like there’s a scene that’s wasting your time yet, at the same time, there isn’t a moment that overstays its welcome. It may only be 97 minutes but those 97 minutes are used very well.
This leads me to probably my favorite aspect of Werewolves Within: it feels very energetic. This might seem odd for a whodunnit in the traditional sense. However, much like Clue, the whodunnit aspect is secondary to the comedy here. So the energetic pace does fit well as it keeps things moving along and fits the tone much better. This might be distracting for some viewers as they might have some trouble keeping up with the jokes and gags. But for me, it was right up my alley.
I hate to say this but I have to say Ubisoft did a good job with Werewolves Within as it’s one of the best movies based on a video game ever made. Of course, the film is very loosely based on the game so a lot of liberties were taken. Sam Richardson and Milana Vayntrub are a blast to watch here and the really quick pace makes sure you’re entertained. I say give it a watch even if you’re like me and never even heard of the game before. Werewolves Within won’t leave you howling at the moon.
Have you seen Werewolves Within? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!