Werewolves Within (2021)

Werewolves Within
Director: Josh Ruben
Writer: Mishna Wolff
Based on: the video game
Cast: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillén, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Fleshler, Patrick M. Walsh, Anni Krueger
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 3.10.2021
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Plot:
Finn (Sam Richardson) is a ranger who was just transferred to Beaverfield, middle of nowhere. When Finn arrives, there appears only one thing that is happening in the town: a new gas pipeline is supposed to be built right through it and the town is very divided about it. As Finn tries to get his bearings in the city with the help of postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub), he discovers some strange things that seem to point towards a werewolf. With an on-coming snow storm to boot, Finn barely knows what’s happening and what he can do.

Werewolves Within is a very entertaining horror comedy and it was just the right film to close out the SLASH Film Festival for me this year, leaving me with a bounce in my step and a smile on my face.

The film poster showing Finn (Sam Richardson) in the middle of all the film's characters, a full moon shining behind them.

Not everything about Werewolves Within works perfectly. The supporting cast feels a little overwrought. I get that they are parodies, but it would have been nice to see the person beyond the parody as well, and there is not enough of that. But that trick is certainly pulled off with Cecily and Finn who are set up as stereotypes, but those are effectively subverted.

Thus, Finn, who is constantly trying and told to “man up”, learns to lean into his nice side and see the strength of being friendly and helpful and a little naive even. Bubbly Cecily who appears to be just sweetness at first, at least in the eyes of Finn, on the other hand gets to show her rough edges and call him out on his projections onto her (although her call-out contains some questionable comments about Finn’s masculinity). Richardson and Vayntrub are great in their roles, and especially together.

Finn (Sam Richardson) holding two axes, his uniform shirt bloodied and torn.

The two provide the film with its emotional core and grounding. Since the world around them is a little shrill and definitely chaotic, as befits a comedy, this is an important function. That is not to say that they are never funny themselves, because they definitely are. They are simply more than that.

The film is set-up as a whodunnit or rather a whoisit, and it kept me guessing. The mystery is served well by the comedy, and both together wrap into a nice little package that is highly entertaining, even if you, like me, have no clue about the video game it is based on. It doesn’t matter – you will have fun with this.

Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) standing in front of a fireplace in her USPS uniform.

Summarizing: hihgly entertaining.

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