Ubisoft’s hit crime video game is getting an equally successful large-screen adaptation. Werewolves inside is a cheeky horror comedy that delights from start to finish. The movie has a damn nice guy trapped in a small town while a savage killer is on the loose. He is forced to survive the night while trying to figure out which of the strange residents is the carnivorous culprit. Werewolves inside never takes himself too seriously. The film skilfully mixes standard horror tropes with skilful direction and perfectly timed, humorous cast reactions.
Sam Richardson plays Finn, a sociable parking attendant who has been transferred to the snowy mountain town of Beaverfield. He checks into the local inn and meets Cecily (Milana Vayntrub), another recent transplant, and a new postwoman. The inn is owned by the emotional Jeanine (Catherine Curtin), whose husband she recently left. Other guests are Dr. Ellis (Rebecca Henderson), a renowned environmentalist; and Sam Parker (Wayne Duvall), a businessman who plans to build a gas pipeline in Beaverfield. He needs the city to vote unanimously for the pipeline, otherwise the regulation will fail. Dr. Ellis is, of course, bitter against it.
The story begins with Trisha Anderton’s (Michaela Watkins) beloved dog being kidnapped during his nightly walk. She and her skillful husband (Michael Chernus) want Finn to investigate. He and Cecily find a disturbing clue. But before they can continue, a bitter snow storm rolls over Beaverfield. The streets are closed and the electricity has failed. The townspeople flee to the inn, but suddenly the generator fails. Finn discovers that claw marks have torn the metal case apart. Somebody or something caught them all in the inn.
Each character has a bizarre quirk that comes into play as the story progresses. The pipeline money issues rich for poor, which in turn reveals deeper social and cultural divisions. These interactions get funnier as the danger increases. Finn must overcome his meek personality in order to direct the mounting hostilities. Milana Vayntrub, famous for her commercial portrayal of AT & T’s “Lily,” displays her acting skills with acrid sarcasm. Cheyenne Jackson and Harvey Guillén are also hilarious thieves as a wealthy gay couple. The ensemble of experienced character actors is presented here in top comedic form.
Director Josh Ruben (Scare me, Adam ruins everything) uses quick cuts and focused camera shots to capture the madness of the situation. The actors with an improvisational and theater background are exaggerated. It’s great when they’re all in one scene together. Ruben then cleverly cuts off the group perspective to show the individual answers. That is well done and gives the film a clear flow. Anna Drubich’s music makes a significant contribution to highlighting these moments. Screenwriter Mishna Wolff also deserves credit for updating the video game’s plot. She is forging an intelligent mystery. Werewolves inside has all facets of production on one page. You get the feeling that everyone who worked on this film was fully committed and understood the tone of the narrative.
Horror comedies are rarely this entertaining. I find most forays into this genre disappointing and poorly executed. Werewolves inside strikes the right balance. It’s funny when you have to, but it’s never silly. And creeps in a few horrors when it’s least expected. Werewolves inside is a production by Ubisoft and Vanishing Angle. It will hit theaters on June 25th. Followed by a VOD streaming premiere on July 2nd from IFC Films.
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