Werewolves Within is a whodunnit horror-comedy from director Josh Ruben (Scare Me) and from a screenplay by Mishna Wolff. It is based on a video game of the same name and kicks off with a vicious attack on a man out in the snowy wilderness, which we assume is being carried out by a werewolf…
Park ranger Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) is driving to his new job in Beaverfield, Vermont. He’s sticking to the speed limit, staying in the slow lane and is listening to an assertiveness tape on the car stereo. “Say ‘BALLS’” instructs the lady on the tape, and Finn dutifully obliges, repeatedly shouting ‘BALLS’.
Arriving for his new job, Finn is introduced to postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub), who is also relatively new in town, and she gives him a guided tour of the area and the rest of the wacky locals who reside there. Innkeeper Jeanine (Catherine Curtin) recently lost her husband, Parker (Wayne Duvall) has plans to run a pipeline through the town, which has resulted in arguments among the locals. Joaquim (Harvey Guillen) and Devon (Cheyenne Jackson) are a gay couple from Brooklyn and then there’s Marcus (George Basil) and Gwen (Sarah Burns), Trisha (Micheala Watkins) and husband Pete (Michael Chernus). Dr Ellis (Rebecca Henderson) is staying at the inn while she investigates the environmental impact of the proposed new pipeline and then living alone on the outskirts of town is grumpy woodsman Emerson (Glenn Fleshler). Plenty of suspects for when it comes to the whodunnit element of the plot.
After Trisha’s precious dog is killed one night by something lurking around her property, everyone but Emerson turns up at the inn in order to discuss the suspicious events that have been going on around town. And then, as Finn discovers the slashed body of Jeanine’s husband partially buried by snow outside, a snowstorm blows in, knocking out the power. The generators have also been slashed, so everyone decides to just stay put until power and daylight return. But there appears to be a killer among them… could there be a werewolf within the group?
There’s something about Werewolves Within which just didn’t click with me at all. It’s supposed to be funny, and is full of quirky dialogue as the cast constantly riff off of each other and play up to their stereotypes, but I just didn’t find anything about it remotely funny, it all felt very forced. The mixture of tones didn’t work for me either – there are many movies that successfully manage to blend comedy with horror but this wasn’t one of them. It’s trying hard to be funny, it’s trying to be dramatic, it’s trying to be horrific, but the combination just didn’t work for me and it ends up failing on all three counts. It’s not from the lack of talent among the cast either, the script just fell completely flat.
And then suddenly, in the final act, people start dying in ways that don’t always make sense, people react or behave in ways that don’t make sense, and it feels rushed to get to the big reveal as to the identity of the werewolf within the group. I just wish that I’d given up and forwarded to the end to find that out sooner, rather than waiting to see if things improved.
Signature Entertainment presents Werewolves Within on Digital Platforms and DVD from 19th July
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.