Werewolves Within (USA, 2021)

The virtual reality game gets a live-action film that proves to be quite funny at times and keeps you guessing.

Finn is the newly hired forest ranger in the small town of Beaverfield. Upon his arrival, he meets postal worker Cecily, who takes a liking to him instantly. Together, she takes him on a tour of the town, where things are unraveling as some of the townsfolks are arguing over as proposed gas pipeline. Things get worse when people and even animals are being killed off by a beast. However, things are about to go from bad to worse.

A snowstorm hits Beaverfield and Finn, Cecily, and some of the locals are trapped inside the local inn. One of the locals is convinced that the beast who has been terrorizing the town is actually a werewolf. However, no one is sure who is exactly a werewolf. One thing is for sure. It is one of the snowbound locals. All hell breaks loose, and the nice guy Finn is finds himself in the middle of all the chaos.

Based on a 2016 virtual reality game for the PlayStation, this is a modern-day adaptation of the game, which is set in a Medieval-style town. Writer Mishna Wolff wrote the film as a funny meshing of Fargo meets The Beast Must Die, the latter a 1974 film about a group of people with one being a werewolf. The film has the tone and feel of the former in terms of the new forest ranger in town finding himself in a world of chaos that he never imagined. Josh Ruben’s directing style seems to do an excellent job with the tone and dark comedy elements as we see the townsfolk go after each other to determine which one of them is a werewolf.

Sam Richardson, who also serves as a producer, is funny as new forest ranger Finn. He brings a performance similar to that of David Oyelowo in Gringo. He’s just one of the many eccentric characters in the town. As the newcomer, he is the most level-headed member of the cast alongside Milana Vayntrub’s Cecily. The AT&T spokesperson is quite quirky as the town’s postal worker who becomes Finn’s greatest ally when it comes to the mystery involving the town.

The townsfolk themselves are a riot to watch. In a way, we are treated to an Orange is the New Black reunion with Catherine Curtin, who played prison guard Bell, showing what a touch woman she is as the outspoken Jeanine and Michael Chernus, who played Piper’s brother Cal on the prison show, as Pete. Harvey Guillen is hilarious as a flamboyant Latino man with Descendants 3’s Hades himself, Cheyenne Jackson as his partner. Once the investigation begins between each the townsfolk, it becomes sort of a crazy Battle Royale style at times and it is quite funny to see. The finale is definitely quite a hoot.

Werewolves Within is a fun meshing of Fargo and The Beast Must Die. The eclectic and eccentric cast are fun to watch as we see them try to figure out who is a werewolf among them and believe it, it will keep you guessing.

WFG RATING: A-

IFC Films presents an Ubisoft Motion Pictures film. Director: Josh Ruben. Producers: Sam Richardson, Matt Miller, Benjamin Wiessner, Natalie Metzger, Margaret Boykin, and Jason Altman. Writer: Mishna Wolff, based on the video game by Ubisoft. Cinematography: Matt Wise. Editing: Brett W. Bachman.

Cast: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, Cheyenne Jackson, Catherine Curtin, Harvey Guillen, Michael Chernus, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Wayne Duvall, Rebecca Henderson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Fleshler.

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