As the Halloween season begins it is inevitable that the various streaming platforms will inundate us with a plethora of horror themes to satisfy the needs of the frenzied genre fans. What I didn’t expect was to see a Marvel / Disney+ production with a supernatural love song to the golden age of horror.
Werewolf By Night is a Marvel Studios Special Presentation, the first in a series of short features to tie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It holds what has now become synonymous with the full-length features adding a dash of humour to buddy dialogue scenes. What elevates the movie however is the directorial vision; a passionate and dedicated view of 1930s horror including using black and white cinematography to set the scene but adding a modern twist.to the narrative.
The thrust of the piece follows a dark and stormy night (of course) where five experienced monster hunters gather after the death of Ulysses Bloodstone to participate in a ritualistic competitive hunt and wield the sacred bloodstone to become their new leader.
Among them is the timid, yet astute Jack Russell (Gael Garcia Bernal) who not only has ulterior means for being at the hunt but also harbours a secret of his own, which if unleashed could spell a different outcome for all involved.
The appeal of Werewolf By Night comes through not just with its endearing characters, namely Bernal’s Jack Russell and Laura Donnelly’s Elsa Bloodstone, playing with an underlying chemistry embroiled in the survival and turmoil that they are presented with, But its cinematography is so rich and lush that you are instantly transported to a specific time in celluloid history, and i simply love the way that it plays with the fourth wall, applying texture to our field of vision.
It does fall into the trappings of a Marvel / Disney production however and lack in scares, but what makes up for this with a gloriously fun and engaging tale that hooks you in and packs it all neatly into a 53 minute running time.
- Saul Muerte