Perhaps one of the last video games anybody expected to be adapted into a feature film, Red Storm Entertainment’s Werewolves Within – a VR game published by Ubisoft in 2016 – saw players tasked with guessing which of a small town’s quirky residents was a werewolf. Produced by and starring Veep’s Sam Richardson, this comedy-horror film adaptation of the same name has become the highest-rated film based on a game on Rotten Tomatoes, and for good reason. It’s bloody brilliant.
Directed by Josh Ruben from a screenplay by Mishna Wolff, Werewolves Within is an old-school whodunnit romp in the manner of Knives Out, with genuinely funny and snappy dialogue seasoning a surprisingly compelling script that will keep you guessing throughout. With a flawless ensemble cast bringing to life a variety of eccentric townsfolk that anybody who has lived in a small town will instantly recognise, the film is packed with keenly observed humour in its hilarious, instantly quotable dialogue. But equally effective is the film’s sense of suspense, creating the best horror-comedy since Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (Wright’s distinctive style being a clear influence here, especially during the first act).
Werewolves Within’s budgetary limitations are felt throughout with a very tell-don’t-show approach to the violence, while the climactic showdown isn’t particularly exciting for similar reasons – but the film’s oddball humour and self-aware spoof-like elements mean the film comes out feeling like something of a love letter to both the whodunnit and werewolf subgenres.
Packed with genuine laughs and thrills in equal measure, Werewolves Within is just good fun that is hard to resist. This is a film that has been put together with a real love for the genre, performed by a cast clearly having a good time – and it’s infectious for the viewer. This old-school horror-comedy romp is a real hidden gem that is destined for cult status. A delight. Also, to filmmakers everywhere – can you please cast Sam Richardson in everything ever until the end of time? Thanks.
WEREWOLVES WITHIN is available on DVD and digital from Signature Entertainment on 19 July 2021