Director: Josh Ruben
Writer: Mishna Wolff
Starring: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillén, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Flesher
Based on the Ubisoft game of the same name, Werewolves Within, is a fun and quirky murder mystery that feels like a classic Agatha Christie novel or the recent Knives Out. Written by Mishna Wolff and directed by Josh Ruben, there is a lot to love about this warm and cosy story.
The small town of Beaverfield is divided over a pipeline that has been proposed, and the residents are at each other’s throats. Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) is a forest ranger who has been relocated to Beaverfield. He finds himself not only in the middle of the divided town, but also in the middle of a murder mystery after finding a body one morning. The townsfolk start to believe there’s a werewolf among them and start to turn on each other even more than they already have.
The town of Beaverfield is odd, in the best way possible. It’s filled with personality and strange people. When Finn is first walking around the town, being introduced to the locals, it almost feels like this is the pilot for a TV show and it is the kind of town where you want to spend as much time as possible. All the locals are quirky and strange and there’s a lot of great funny moments as he’s making his first rounds through the town. You can tell that certain people are already on edge.
Finn himself is a great character, he’s a genuine nice guy who just wants others to be happy. He’s probably too nice to be the lead investigator of the murder at the centre of the story, which leads to further funny moments. Moving to Beaverfield means that he is currently apart from his girlfriend, who he doesn’t want to admit has broken up with him. He’s completely out of place in the town, seeming like a normal person compared to the eccentric characters. The film starts with a quote from Mr Rogers, and that pretty much sums up Finn, he’s someone you’d want to be your neighbour.
When the mystery gets going and the film settles in, it has some great tense moments, where you’re not sure who is the killer. All of the characters, with all of their eccentricities, are likable enough that you don’t want any of them to die, and at the same time you don’t want any of them to be the killer. There are enough twists to keep you guessing about who the actual killer is.
Sadly, the story does feel drawn out and it really runs out of steam before it gets to the final conclusion. The ending isn’t that satisfying, even if the big reveal is a shock. The effects on the werewolf aren’t anything to write home about, but they’re still decent enough. Sadly the last act doesn’t live up to what the beginning set up.
Werewolves Within is so close to being great, and it is a little bit of a let-down. There’s still a lot of fun and the central mystery is great for the most part.
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