Okay, I am in the minority here. Critics and the audience have liked this videogame converted into a film and its matchless appetite for jolt frights. I found Werewolves Within a tedious slog despite the brisk pace and an apparently insatiable appetite for mayhem. The gorefest is set in a small sleepy town where men entertain themselves not by watching American Idol but by gossiping and having flings with other people’s wives. Such are the nightmares of dumbed-down lives. The film opens with one gentleman waiting for a little fun away from his wife in the snow being dragged away by an unknown unseen creature.
Turns out, there is a werewolf on the prowl. Rather than lock themselves up in their homes everyone congregates at the local inn run by a woman (Catherine Curtin) whose husband’s body is found under the floor. Catherine Curtin’s scream on seeing her dead husband could wake up the dead. But it does nothing to liven the limp proceedings. Another man’s hand is bitten off by the unknown/unseen creature. Maybe he was putting his hand in places it shouldn’t go. It’s like making a movie out of a video game. Some places are better left unvisited.
Everyone has sticky fingers in this dial-a-scare farce-food fear fiesta. The whole town seems to be into guns and gossip. Apparently in small towns, the two go hand-in-hand. So what are we looking at here? A forest ranger Finn (Sam Richardson) who teams up with a local courier woman Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) He is clearly attracted to her. But the sparks fly elsewhere. The weight of carrying this weightless scare-dare videogame on film falls on the werewolf factor. Midway through the melee of mayhem, the cast is locked away in a large home trying to keep the werewolf out.
This is where the narrative could have gathered momentum and powered itself into a fright fest. Instead, the characters barely have time together in terror before they begin to disperse and the prospect of this intended scare fare turning into another Knives Out is squandered in the silliest denouement I’ve seen on this side of The Monster Squad. Werewolves Within will leave you worn down and exhausted. Sure, it is fast-paced. But where exactly are we going?
Directed by Josh Ruben, Werewolves Within gets 1 and a half stars.
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