Werewolves Within is available to rent or buy on digital platforms from the 19th July
Welcome to Beaverfield, a small one road in and one road out community nestled among a sprawling forest. Its wood-framed houses, neon-lit bar and bed and breakfast home to a small group of inhabitants. But, while this may sound idyllic, Beaverfield has a significant problem as its residents battle over a proposed gas pipeline through the town. Unaware of the volatile atmosphere he is about to enter, Ranger Finn (Sam Richardson) drives towards his new job in town. His role, to oversee the building of any potential pipeline and the protection of the national forest. Finn is the ultimate nice guy but lacks confidence as he drives into the town listening to a motivational CD on being a man.
On arrival, he checks into the local bed and breakfast run by Jeanine Sherman, a jittery host whose husband has recently disappeared. Meanwhile, upstairs a reclusive environmentalist, Dr Ellis, avoids the locals. Her room, a temporary lab as she investigates the local wildlife.
To Finn, it’s immediately apparent that Beaverfield is a decidedly strange place. But, on the plus side, he has the lively and cheerful post-person Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) to cheer him up and show him the ropes. But, as Finn and Cecily grow close, horror lurks in the shadows. And as the moon rises and the snow falls, the residents of Beaverfield will find themselves forced together as a series of hairy murders invade the town.
Based on the UbiSoft VR game of the same name, Werewolves Within is a rare gem in the world of game to film adaptations. Its themes of community, social divide and change finding a humorous and cutting voice in the hands of screenwriter Mishna Wolff. Wolff’s screenplay is full of delicious one-liners, beautifully timed interjections and nods to horror past and present. The story she builds vibrantly brought to life in the hands of director Josh Ruben and a strong ensemble cast.
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Ruben layers his film with elements of The Burbs, Knives Out and The Howling in creating a fast-paced, nostalgic, yet equally fresh cinematic journey. And just like the director of two of the films named above, Joe Dante, Ruben perfectly balances comedy, fantasy and horror. Here, Beaverfield’s menagerie of devilish characters is allowed to run free, creating an atmosphere that often feels improvised. Meanwhile, his delightfully dark world is unafraid to explore big socio-political themes through its horror and humour. The town’s residents, a reflection of the attitudes and behaviours that help to divide our modern society. The result is a movie that reflects the turbulence of modern America and isn’t afraid to play with its divides. And when you add to this the beautifully staged whodunnit at the film’s heart, Werewolves Within finds a unique, entertaining and engaging voice.
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However, Rubens brilliant direction would ultimately fall flat without the movies inspired casting. Here, our two leads, Richardson and Vayntrub, are outstanding as two outsiders entering a melting pot of conflict. With Richardson’s Finn eager to find peace and community spirit, his hero Mr Roger’s. While at the same time, Vayntrub’s electric and energetic Cecily thrives on risk as the community begins to eat itself. But, when you add to this an ensemble cast who relish and embellish the stereotypes of their character and every fast-paced gag they deliver. Werewolves Within becomes a joy to watch, it’s one and a half hour runtime, leaving you wanting more.
Werewolves Within is undoubtedly one of the best whodunnits of 2021 so far. And while it may not satisfy those seeking a gruesome werewolf flick. Ruben’s film will more than satisfy those seeking an innovative, fun and engaging slice of Joe Dante inspired fun. And one thing is for sure; following his feature-length directorial debut with Scare Me, Josh Ruben has firmly announced his arrival as an exciting new voice in directing.