Video game movies and TV shows are becoming more and more commonplace these days. Ubisoft is one of the biggest names in the industry that is moving to accommodate this idea, and has over the past few years helped create Mythic Quest and the latest Tom Clancy movie, among other projects. It even has plans to produce many other features from its diverse portfolio of IPs, including a The Division movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain. But, video game movies don't always have to be about the biggest brands, and don't need to have big-name stars to be interesting, as Ubisoft has proven with its independently financed and produced horror comedy, Werewolves Within.
This tale is about a small town called Beaverfield that is being plagued by what seems to be a vicious werewolf, a creature that has been killing and terrorising the residents. As the locals struggle to grasp the concept of a fictional monster, who could be any of them, causing them havoc, they begin to turn on one another, using various personal flaws and motives to pin the unexplained murders upon each other. This creates a whodunnit dynamic, where the townsfolk throw wild accusations and commit bizarre acts in desperate efforts to survive the horror story they are trapped in.
The storyline itself revolves around forest ranger Finn, played by Sam Richardson (known for Veep), who has recently been transferred to the rural town. Upon making it to Beaverfield, Finn meets the residents, an eccentric yet diverse cast of individuals, each of whom have a dark streak lurking within - that much is apparent. It's not for a little while until all hell breaks loose, in fact Werewolves Within does a great job at lulling you into a false sense of security as it steadily introduces you to the cast - and then opens the flood gate on the chaos and killing.
For a movie adaptation of a PSVR game, the plot is pretty well thought out and is engaging, even if it can feel slow at times. Sure, it does seem a little predictable, but it manages to throw in enough diversions to keep you off the scent as you try to solve the mystery for yourself. The narrative and dialogue, while interesting, does often miss the mark on its humour, and doesn't quite make for a seriously funny film all throughout - there are hilarious situations that won't fail to give you a good giggle, but they're infrequent.
As for the cast's performance, the team has done a great job at bringing their characters to life. Richardson's Finn and Milana Vayntrub's Cecily are highlights, and bounce off one another incredibly well. As for the rest of the cast, they bring performances that make each character feel fresh and unique, even if a lot of the characters don't really get that much of an opportunity to blossom and stand above the rest over the film's duration.
Despite being tagged as a horror comedy, the movie's absurdity often nullifies the horror it tries to convey, meaning you shouldn't expect a frightful experience because it never serves that up. There are occasions where you can see that the fear of a situation is meant to be the primary emotion, but it's soon dampened by a ridiculous move in the story - granted this often makes for some of the most hilarious moments of the film.
While I wouldn't classify Werewolves Within as a truly outstanding movie, it is thoroughly entertaining, and is a delight to watch. It's the sort of movie that probably isn't your number one pick, but also won't fail to provide a satisfying watch. For that reason, I'd recommended checking it out, since it's daft, fun, and packed with enough charisma to make for a great evening.