Warewolf By NIght Review

Warewolf By NIght Review

Jack Widman, Writer


Marvel Studios’ Werewolf By Night is the first Marvel Studios’ Special Presentation released on Disney+. The story follows Jack Russell, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, trapped in a competition where the world’s deadliest monster-hunters have to defeat a creature to obtain a special article called a Bloodstone. Jack has to fight the monster within himself while trying to save his friend that is in immediate danger.

 Werewolf By Night is the directorial debut of Michael Giacchino, one of the most popular film composers of all time, scoring fan-favorite films such as The Incredibles, The Batman, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Coco, and many others. Michael Giacchino pitched the idea of Werewolf by Night to head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Fiege, nearly four years ago, and now his passion project has finally been released. Werewolf By Night is a beautifully crafted love-letter to the monster movies of the past, such as The Wolfman and Werewolf of London which Giacchino grew up with. Werewolf By Night is one of the most unique and intriguing entries in the vast Marvel Cinematic Universe. The 50-minute black and white TV special had a lot of ground to cover. The film had to tell a compelling story, make our leads likable and give them motivations the audience could get behind, introduce monsters in the Marvel universe, and manage to pay homage to classic films. I can say Werewolf By Night succeeds in every category. The movie is wonderfully shot and edited, the black and white feature does not remove from the visuals, If anything, it adds to it, confirming this film as one of the most violent so far in the MCU. The black and white allowed a lot of bloody effects to pass-off.  Something else that stands out is the bloodstone being the only thing for the majority of the runtime that is not shot in black and white; giving the bloodstone a glowing red aura which makes for a great visual. The action sequences are also major standouts, especially once Jack Russell transforms into his darker half. The fights with the werewolf are stellar, especially the long one-take where the werewolf takes down a few guards who were loyal to the bloodstone’s previous owner. The cinematography is excellent, with many shots standing out. When Jack transforms into the werewolf for the first time, we see it through the perspective of Elsa Bloodstone, the secondary protagonist, played by Laura Donnelly, the scene shows her fear as she watches someone she trusted turn into a monster, we see his shadow change rapidly, we see his claws grow and his face structure change, which makes a great shot and helps us feel the pure fear Donnelly’s character is feeling in the moment.

The character that steals the show is Man-Thing, or known as Ted,  who is Jack Russell’s best friend and is the monster that the hunters are attempting to defeat. Man-Thing is a expressive swamp monster who communicates through grunts and growls, but his expressions help us know how he is feeling in the scenes. Ted is a scene-stealer, especially his minimal fight scene with one of the hunters, the CGI works extremely well in the scene and we can see the anger behind eyes.  Behind the scenes footage shows the costume for Man-Thing was entirely practical; which is very rare, especially for recent marvel projects, to not make the creature entirely out of CGI. The picture below shows the crew of the film with the man-made suit. I personally think practical effects are much more beneficial for films; and. In all honesty, I am glad Giacchino and team went with the decision to make a practical suit rather than add him digitally in post-production. 

Overall, I believe that Werewolf By Night is easily one of the best superhero projects in recent years. The practical effects mixed with the wonderful set and costume design make for a fantastic feature. The main characters are lovable and are a joy to follow throughout the short runtime. Producing this movie in black and white allowed for unique creative decisions and allowed them to include more gnarly effects. Even the main Marvel title-card that plays before every project is changed to be presented in black and white with lighting striking the logo. 

 At the tail-end of the project we see the world fade into color, and I can say it was one of the best effects I have seen this year in film. The movie is perfect for the Halloween season and can help get viewers into the spooky mood. Werewolf By Night is now available on Disney+, and I completely recommend watching this feature. I would rate this movie overall a 9.5/10.