Werewolves Within (2021)

To kick off this year’s #31DaysofHorror I chose Werewolves Within, a comedy-whodunnit-horror based on a Ubisoft video game. I heard screenwriter Mishna Wolff (perfect name) and director Josh Ruben talk about making it, and it sounded like a fun October opener.

Newly appointed forest ranger Finn arrives at the tiny outpost of Beaverfield, in the snowy woods of Vermont. Postal worker Cecily introduces him to the cartoonish locals, almost all of who want to sell their homes to an oil company for a big payout, but the deal is being held up by a handful of refuseniks. The hotel owner’s missing husband is found partially eaten, the power lines are cut, and as the many bristling resentments become murderous, Finn has to work out who is doing the killing, and whether it really is a werewolf.

I didn’t guess the killer, but then I didn’t twig it was a whodunnit until quite a way in, so that’s no surprise. The first half was much more of a broad comedy than I was expecting, with a dash of rom-com thrown in, but the horror vibe got stronger towards the end. I loved the snow and the locations, especially the deserted bar with the pinball machines and jukebox, and Cecily is a playfully subversive take on a manic pixie dream girl. For #31DaysofHorror, I wish it had more werewolves in it, but there were a couple of good jump scares, and it was never boring. A decent start.