The Marvel Cinematic Universe takes a turn for the dark and ghoulish in its new special television presentation Werewolf by Night, and it offers audiences up something entirely different and plenty of scares.
On a dark and sombre night, a secret cabal of monster hunters emerge from the shadows and gather at the Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader; the attendees are thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic.
Trading in superheroes and spandex for something darker, grimmer and more gothic, prolific film composer Michael Giacchino steps into the director’s chair for Marvel Studios’ latest horror-themed story Werewolf by Night. While Marvel Studios dipped its toe in the water of the horror genre with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Werewolf by Night is a full-on tale of Grand Guignol horror, and there’s plenty of screaming involved. Shot in crisp black and white and evoking the scares and gore of classic Hammer Horror films, Werewolf by Night is a narrative that gets right to the point and the claws come out. Giacchino moves quickly with this film, and audiences are introduced to the bloodthirsty Bloodstone family who set out to choose their new leader with a monster hunt and the horror ramps up from there. Giacchino goes full R-rated with this adaptation and it’s fresh and new that will take MCU fans by surprise.
Finding himself in the midst of the Bloodstone hunt is Gael García Bernal as Jack Russell, a hunter with a dark secret and who is certainly not all that he seems. Bernal brings intelligence and reserve as Russell and as the events of the film unfold it becomes apparent that there’s more to him than we know. Bernal fits the film’s gothic setting perfectly and he carries himself with a subtle elegance that sets himself apart from the other characters in the film, and he commits fully to Russell’s intentions. Paired next to him is Laura Donnelly as Elsa Bloodstone, the wayward heir to the Bloodstone line, and she’s a wild child who can hold her own, and Donnelly gives Elsa a real edge with her performance.
Horror fans will get a great kick out of Werewolf by Night, and there’s plenty of shock value in this special movie event. Giacchino and his team give this film a true grindhouse feel to it, and the viewing experience lends to that drive-in movie feeling. It’s violent, gory and filled with monsters going for it and when the beast finally comes out the blood starts flowing. As a film experience, Giacchino keeps things old school, and there’s a large focus on practical make-up effects to bring Werewolf by Night to life, and what a beast he is. It’s a great bit of fun to see the beast unleashed and this of-course results in plenty rip claw action.
But along with the blood and guts, Werewolf by Night also carries a good bit of heart and moral integrity to the story with the character of Jack Russell bringing the monster’s perspective into focus and showing that sometimes the real threat lies elsewhere. It’s an interesting point of view for this series to take, and this questioning and the presence of a new monstrous side to the MCU offers up a lot of potential as move forward into the future.
Marvel Studio’s Werewolf by Night is a ripping bit of horror fun and it offers up something completely new and different to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that fans will genuinely get a kick out of.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures