Did you know there was a VR game released in 2016 called Werewolves Within? No, me neither. But then the double whammy of being a VR game AND made by Ubi Soft meant it was no surprise it passed me by. Yes, this is a movie adaptation of a Ubi Soft game sadly, something that I wasn’t aware of till the swirly logo first popped up. I’m not sure how much revenue they receive from a Netflix stream (which is where it’s available), but you know, if you don’t want to support anything they do for obvious reasons then you should maybe skip this one. With that said, coming with an 86% score on Rotten Tomatoes, I wanted to give it a try. Turns out, it’s really really good.
And when I say “good”, I mean legitimately as well, nothing ironic about my enjoyment of this film. Directed by Josh Ruben, this comedy horrror Werewolves Within tells the story of a Forest Ranger (played by Sam Richardson) moving to a small, snowy town where there appears to be a werewolf on the loose. Problem is, the werewolf is one of the many colourful locals, and with a storm rolling in, they’re all trapped and need to figure out who it is. What makes the film work is the cast, they’re all eccentric caricatures and keep you guessing as to who the actual werewolf is. With plenty of red herrings placed throughout, it’s a whodunnit that does actually keep you guessing till the end.
We have the postal worker played by the voice of Squirrel Girl Milana Vayntrub, the hermit who lives in the woods, a businessman trying to buy up all the land for an oil pipeline, an environmentalist who is clashing with said businessman and more. They all have their reasons for wanting people dead, which leads to tension amongst the group. Usually in quite humourous form. While not often laugh out loud funny, it’s the kind of film where you are constantly smiling throughout, even when the occasional gore happens.
While there are jump scares and a little bit of gore thrown in, much like a film such as Shaun of the Dead, it’s played for goofs. Even when characters are quite badly mauled it’s presented like a bit of a laugh. Speaking of, the practical effects and CGI are actually done well for something that in the grand scheme of things is quite low budget.
I’m not sure if the film even got a release over in the UK, judging by its box office takings of less than a million I doubt it, but now that it’s available on streaming services it’s never been easier to give it a try. With this, Sonic and Detective Pikachu which were fine family films, I think now is the time to finally ditch the “all video game adaptations are terrible” comment. We’ve come a long way since Double Dragon and Super Mario Bros.