A whodunnit with teeth … that is a most apt description, and for me, that made the film all the more entertaining. I mean, who doesn’t love a good whodunit? And when that whodunit comes with a supernatural twist … even better. In the case of Werewolves Within, that supernatural twist in kind of on the nose. One of the characters actually gives a great explanation regarding the existence of werewolves being more likely than a particular type of person. I wish I could use the exact phrasing, but I fear that would ruin the whodunit element of the film for you. Sam Richardson leads the cast in this quirky yet intriguing comedy horror. Richardson is someone who has been showing up more and more on my radar in recent years. Each time he does, he feels a bit typecast in the role of a socially awkward individual; he was that way in The Tomorrow’s War as well as when he stared alongside Brittany Snow in Hooking Up. Despite this typecasting, Richardson has presence, somehow invoking the words of Mr. Rogers and applying them in modern day context. However, we are getting ahead of ourselves.
The story follows Richardson as Finn Wheeler, a forest ranger newly assigned to the town of Beaverton. The consummate nice guy, Wheeler almost immediately finds himself at odds with several townsfolk, who are embroiled in a debate regarding approving a gas pipeline to be implemented in town. This issue has divided the town, as its implementation requires a majority vote. On a positive note, Wheeler does manage to make a friend/possible love interest in the form of mail carrier Cecily Moore (Milana Vayntrub). Like Wheeler, she is a bit quirky, and the two do seem like a good fit. However, their potential romance is complicated by the fact that Wheeler is still hung up on his ex, who he didn’t realize was an ex until Cecily clued him in. And of course, a suspicious blackout and the discovery of a corpse also complicates their potential romance.
Upon discovery of the body and the obvious animalistic nature of the killing, a wolf attack is deemed the clear cause. That is until the resident zoologist runs some tests and postulates an alternative theory: werewolf. A crazy and ridiculous theory, that is until more bodies start to drop, especially given that the townsfolk have locked themselves away at the local inn for safety. Only one logical explanation can be drawn: someone inside the inn is the killer. But who? Is it Jeanine (Catherine Curtin), the innkeeper? Business owners Trisha (Michaela Watkins) or her unfaithful husband Pete (Michael Chernus)? Or could it be the nice-guy ranger? Only one way to find out.
As I mentioned earlier, I somewhat put together who the culprit was. There is a bit of a red herring situation, I’ll warn. To the film’s credit, it is blatantly obvious who is the killer; the film has twists and turns to make the guessing game pretty interesting. This overall helps the reveal in my opinion, and when we meet the killer, it was still a satisfying reveal. All in all, this was a really entertaining movie that I am glad I got to experience. I wouldn’t classify the film as box office-worthy, but for what it was, it was of high quality. Part of this was due to Richardson and his chemistry with his co-star Vayntrub.
It’s funny; all throughout the film I was looking at Vayntrub, and I instantly recognized her, but I couldn’t place from where. It was scratching at the back of my mind throughout the film, so I had to look it up. She came to prominence for her appearances in a AT&T commercials as saleswoman Lily Adams. Though she also has a pretty extensive acting portfolio that dates all the way back to 1995, this foray was the first notable time I can recall seeing her show off her acting chops. That said, I think she was great in the role and played off Richardson perfectly. The two made social awkwardness cute and funny. It made me root for them. I truly hoped to see more from the both of them individually, and truth be told, if they worked on another romantic comedy film together, I’d be willing to give it a watch.
In conclusion, while it isn’t a box office film, it is a quality film in my opinion. It was thoroughly entertaining and worth watching. There were a one or two slow bits, but they were nothing that damaged my overall enjoyment of the film. It was a bit out of season for the film; I think this would have done well placed during the Halloween period. Hell, I’d be willing to consider watching it again next year. Maybe with my wife. Not so much my daughter; between the gore and the profanity, it’s a bit out of her window for the time being. Either way, definitely worth a watch.