Werewolves Within


Ranger Finn doesn’t axe for much.

(2021) Horror Comedy (IFC) Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillén, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Fleshler, Patrick M. Walsh Jr., Anni Krueger. Directed by Josh Ruben

 

Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that can make for an enjoyable movie. A group of people, trapped by a snowstorm, with a remorseless killer among them. Who’s going to survive? And which one is the killer? And is that killer a werewolf?

The town of Beaverfield, Vermont is known for maple syrup, and little else. Forest ranger Finn Wheeler (Richardson) has been sent there to take over the job for the local national forest, and believe me, it’s no promotion. He is naïve to an almost epic degree, not realizing that his girlfriend Charlotte (Krueger) has dumped him He is, however, fortunate enough to meet the town postal worker, Cecily (Vayntrub) early on. She knows all the secrets of the quirky townspeople; the genial innkeeper Jeanine (Curtin) whose husband has apparently run off with a waitress, which has left her mumbling to herself; the power tech couple Devon (Jackson) and Joaquim (Guillén) who have opened up a yoga studio in a town that is disinterested in it; the conservatives Pete (Chernus) and Trisha (Watkins); gas station-owning rednecks Marcus (Basil) and Sarah (Burns); reclusive ecologist Dr. Ellis (Henderson) who is opposing the building of a natural gas pipe line by Sam Parker (Duvall) which has divided the town into opposing camps, and then there’s the trapper Emerson (Fleshler) who has a sign “Trespass and Die” on his property which is sincerely meant. He basically hates anything walking on two legs and a lot of things on four legs. Don’t get me started on things on more legs than that.

When a vicious snowstorm hits effectively sealing off the town from any outside help, all of the generators are sabotaged with what appear to be massive claw marks left behind, although a diesel-stained knife may have been used in the destruction. When townspeople start turning up murdered (including Jeanine’s missing husband), Dr. Ellis comes up with a startling declaration – the culprit is a werewolf.

The movie’s cast is probably not well-known but they do sterling work. Best of them is Richardson, a Veep alumnus who reminded me strongly of Saturday Night Live standout Kenan Thompson. Vayntrub, best-known for her long running AT&T commercials as well as a stint on This Is Us, also scores points as the perky postal worker with a touch of Manic Pixie Dream Girl to her DNA.

While you’d never know this was a video game adaptation unless you are conversant with some of the Virtual Reality games available for Oculus Rift, the movie gets points for atmosphere as well. The humor is for the most part pretty on target, although a few bits fall flat. There is some social commentary with the town’s divide along party lines mirroring that of the rest of the country. Cecily’s love for kombucha will likely date the movie a bit though.

The movie has some blood, but isn’t gory enough to make sensitive sorts recoil. All in all, this is one of those horror movies that just about anyone can watch and have a great time, even those who aren’t fond of horror.

While the movie is now playing on a limited release basis, it will be expanding to VOD starting next Friday July 2nd. Check your favorite streaming platform or on-demand provider for prices and availability.

REASONS TO SEE: Richardson reminds me a bit of SNL’s Kenan Thompson. The humor mostly works.
REASONS TO AVOID: Overdoes the quirkiness in places.
FAMILY VALUES: There is plenty of profanity, violence (most of it bloody) and some sexual references.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Wayne Duvall, who plays the pipeline developer Sam Parker, is a cousin to actor Robert Duvall.
CRITICAL MASS: As of 6/27/2021: Rotten Tomatoes: 82% positive reviews; Metacritic: 65/100.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Freaks of Nature
FINAL RATING: 7.5/10
NEXT:
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

New Releases for the Week of June 25, 2021


F9 THE FAST SAGA

(Universal) Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Charlize Theron, John Cena. Directed by Justin Lin

After having her plans thwarted by Dom and his gang in the last entry in the franchise, Cipher goes full-on below-the-belt when she enlists Dom’s younger brother to help her exact her revenge.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Action
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for language, action and sequences of violence)

Lansky

(Vertical) Harvey Keitel, Sam Worthington, AnnaSophia Robb, Minka Kelly. An elderly Meyer Lansky is investigated by the federal government one last time as the Feds look for hidden millions they believe he has stashed away. He then tells them a tale of things previously unknown about his time as the head of Murder, Incorporated.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Biographical Drama
Now Playing: CMX Daytona, CMX Merritt Square
Rating: R (for language, strong bloody violence, and some sexual references)

Werewolves Within

(IFC) Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns. The oddball inhabitants of a quirky town, already divided by the construction of a proposed pipeline, are trapped by a snowstorm in the local inn. The newly arrived forest ranger and postman must somehow keep the peace while they are terrorized by a mysterious creature which may or may not be a werewolf.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Horror Comedy
Now Playing: CMX Daytona, CMX Merritt Square, Enzian Theater
Rating: R (for language throughout, some bloody violence, and sexual references)

COMING TO VIRTUAL CINEMA/VOD:

The Evil Next Door
Gaia
My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To
The Holy Game
(Tuesday)
Rollers
Too Late

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

F9 The Fast Saga
The Holy Game
Werewolves Within