I recently pulled the covers up and settled into bed with a spooky movie. And what’s the spookiest of the traditional big three monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman)? It’s werewolves. Claws down. Because they eat you. And there is no fear more primal to us animals than that of being eaten by another animal. It’s why Jaws is horrifying. But you can stay out of the water, and you can’t stay away from people who might become monsters at any moment.
Soooo, I pulled up the new release, Werewolves Within. Looked funny. Could be spooky. It’s night in my dark room. Plus the guy has a throwing axe in his hand. So I’m optimistic.
And I watched it.
Where to begin…(minor spoilers coming)
Opening scene is promising. I like scary. ’nuff said. Then Sam Richardson and Milana Vayntrub take over the movie, and they are fun. You might know Milana from AT&T commercials. She’s quite humorous and does a great job playing her character as plucky and attractive. Sam is super too. Funny and naturally friendly and cheerful. You gotta wonder if he is nice in real life or just darn good at playing nice. So these two carry the movie for about an hour, buoying the story for as long as they can among a cadre of characters who are so over the top they go past funny and into cliche (not so good).
The whodunnit…or whoisit…plot survives for a while, but the movie ultimately collapses under the weight of its unbelievability–both the overdone supporting characters and the decisions people make. Even in a supernatural setting, characters need to behave in a way that the audience will recognize as human nature. It’s how we connect with them. There is little connection here, and I was soon saying “no way…she wouldn’t do that…I don’t get it…say what?” Sam and Milana soldier on, but they can’t save it in the end. I’m all about story. I need a good story. And we don’t quite there here.
The movie is harmless fun (barring a couple bad stereotypes), so if you want a funny werewolf movie that has one scary scene and doesn’t require you to take it too seriously, go ahead and make some popcorn. Otherwise, I’m going to recommend rewatching American Werewolf in London.
Good job Sam and Milana, though. Keep scoring those roles.