Review: Werewolves Within

STUDIO: IFC Films | DIRECTOR: Josh Ruben | CAST: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, Harvey Guillén, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtain
SPECS: R | 100 min. | Horror comedy

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2

Director Josh Ruben (Scare Me) has perfected the horror-comedy genre with his second feature film, Werewolves Within. A bloody cocktail mix of Shaun of the Dead, Death on the Nile and Knives Out, with a dash of Mister Rogers, it is one of the most enjoyable films of the year so far.

Sam Richardson (TV’s Veep) is Finn, an affable park ranger who throws out phrases like “heavens to Betsy” during times of stress and listens to self-help tapes to bolster his masculinity. Finn’s new posting brings him to Beaverfield, a quaint town full of eccentric characters who welcome you with homemade soap bottle angels one minute and a shotgun pointed at your chest the next. “Everyone is a little questionable,” explains Cecily, a friendly and flirtatious postal worker (“AT&T Girl” Milana Vayntrub, TV’s This is Us) whom Finn bonds with instantly upon his arrival.

When a snowstorm and power outage traps Beaverfield’s residents together inside the local inn, they discover a mysterious creature is terrorizing the community, picking them off one by one. With their relations already splintered over the proposed development of a gas pipeline through town, everyone quickly starts turning on each other and it’s up to outsider Finn to save them from themselves.

The appropriately named Mishna Wolff (I’m Down) deftly adapts the screenplay from its video game source material, impeccably blending sly humor and inventive scares with timely social commentary. Ruben expertly handles the balance of humor and horror while providing enough character-building moments which many horror films lack.

It’s great to see Veep breakout supporting player Richardson get leading man status and it’s well deserved. His affable nature and comic timing is a perfect fit for Finn and he has an effortless chemistry with Vayntrub, who is proving her acting chops with each new role. And speaking of supporting players, the film boosts a talented bunch who bring every variation of quirkiness to the table. Standouts include Glenn Fleshler (Joker) as a gun-toting survivalist who hates his neighbors, Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust) as a high-strung crafts maker and Rebecca Henderson (TV’s Russian Doll) as a reclusive environmentalist working to stop the pipeline.

A self-proclaimed lover of horror films Ruben says “nothing scares me more than people,” and you can see why in his well-crafted Werewolves Within.

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at