Video games have not translated well into movies. Other than "Sonic the Hedgehog," very few have ever worked. In other words, a great video game doth not maketh a great movie.
The latest example of this is "Werewolves Within," a popular VR (Virtual-Reality) video game by Ubisoft that is being given the big-screen treatment. Caught somewhere between horror and comedy, it works as neither, with the only real scare being in how miserably unfunny it ends up being.
Led by Sam Richardson ("Detroiters," "Veep") and a cast of other actors that will seem somewhat familiar (Michaela Watkins, Milana Vayntrub, Glenn Fleshler and Michael Chernus among them), the premise is quite simple: The small town of Beaverfield is forced inside the same local inn due to a major approaching storm, when what appears to be a Werewolf on the loose. The issue is that the creature might not be outside in the wild but - gasp! - within these very walls. In fact, the perpetrator may even be one of us.
This seems like a set-up ripe for laughs, but despite an opening gag where a Mr. Rogers quote hits the screen set to a horror-movie score, there are none to be found. As the laughs don't come, you hope that the scares will, but alas, those are just as scarce. It becomes painfully obvious the longer it goes on that this is a comedy devoid of funny moments, and a horror flick without any camp value. Then what the heck is this thing supposed to be then?
The actors clearly think they're in a comedy, as most of them ham it up playing one-note "caricatures" instead of what could have been well-drawn characters. And if not for the music, you might not even notice that the film is trying for horror. It wants to be a quirky comedy-murder-mystery in the vein of "Clue" but this movie is way too clueless for that high a bar.
I'm not entirely sure why almost all video game movies suck (vampire pun), but "Werewolves Within" definitely bites.
Genre: Comedy, Horror.
Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes.
Starring: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Michaela Watkins, Catherine Curtin, George Basil.
Directed by Josh Ruben ("Scare Me").
"Werewolves Within" is in theaters on Friday, June 25th, 2021 and on VOD Thursday, July 1st, 2021.
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