Director Josh Ruben adapts a video game for his sophomore film with Werewolves Within from IFC Films. After a proposed pipeline creates divisions within the small town of Beaverfield and a snowstorm traps its residents, together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Sam Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind a mysterious creature that has begun terrorizing the community.
Mishna Wolff’s script uses a classic horror film set up for the opening of Werewolves Within before introducing us to our hero Finn. Finn is an eccentric, loveable loser. Sam Richardson has impressed me for years with his supporting work in films. Following his lead role in last year’s enjoyable rom-com Hooking Up, it was refreshing to see Richardson in another lead role. Finn has a kind heart, so despite the clear fallacies in his character, you cannot help but to root for him as the film moves along.
Milana Vayntrub was also enjoyable as our female lead, who, like Finn, is new in town, thus making her a kindred spirit. The two have a ton in common, but given the plot of this horror-comedy, you know things will not go smooth for the duo on their journey to a happy ending. I must give credit to the casting department as well for their solid choices for the supporting cast. The talent that makes up the townsfolks includes George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillén, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Fleshler, and Anni Krueger. Each one of them gets to deliver a witty one-liner before they possibly meet their demise.
The strength of Werewolves Within is not necessarily in the film horror elements, as I do not think I jumped one time. Moreover, the script by Mishna Wolff is more in the style of a murder mystery. While some decent kills happen in the film, there are not many moments in the movie where we see a full-on lupine. I commend the film’s director for taking this route as it allowed the mystery of the film to gel a bit better.
Werewolves Within is a great horror comedy that combines the talents of its writer, director, and star Sam Richardson. While the film is not necessarily left open for a sequel, hopefully, the trio finds a way to reunite on another project.
Final Grade: B
Werewolves Within is available to stream today, July 2nd. If you prefer the theater-going experience, the film is also showing in limited theaters.