Everything the viewer needs to know about what will happen in A Werewolf Among Us, by Josh Ruben, occurs practically in the first six sequences. This is a calculated risk and the plot is not so complicated as to keep secrets, but it is also a clever narrative move.
Based on the video game of the same name, Ruben’s film leans towards homage but seeks something more. In between, it creates a path between twisted humor, horror movie codes, and something lighter. Can such a combination be achieved?
It is evident that Josh Ruben is definitely inspired by Edgar Wright’s Zombies Party (2004). And not just because of the way try to mix comedy, social satire and monsters in a clever way. There is also a well-created capsule air that immediately refers to the now classic film, an obligatory reference when talking about the crossing of successful genres. But, beyond that, Ruben seeks identity and achieves it. By the first fifteen minutes of the film, it is already apparent that the town of Beaverfield is in trouble. Not just for what’s looming in the shadows, but also in the world of real, tangible things.
Ruben takes some ideas from Oz Rodríguez’s Vampires Against the Bronx (2020) to create the necessary sense of urgency. But, while in the Netflix film the evolution of the urban landscape was the center of the debate, in Ruben’s it is the inevitable change. And, although they may seem nuances of the same idea, in reality, there is something more eloquent. It is not just about a people who must face the future, ready or not. In addition, you must look to the past to face danger.
But who could care about local legends and monsters when tycoon Sam Parker (Wayne Duvall) wants to build a pipeline? The premise is simple and accurate. There are more pressing circumstances to deal with and Beaverfield has his hands full. And, while citizens decide or not to leave in the hands of progress? to the town, in the dark, a predator lurks. Of course, it is not a story that has not been told before. But Josh Ruben has the smarts to make it fun. As a context and background to the video game of the same name, the film asks itself peculiar questions.
What happens in this small town destined to be destroyed or, at least, razed? We do not know, or at least it is not of immediate interest. In fact, Ruben does not create the condition of the mystery. Among jokes, puns, and a cast that shares tremendous chemistry, the script knows that its argument is obvious. So he takes that idea from the concrete and makes it more humorous. This small town with the typical big hell is also abuzz with dangers. And, soon, Ruben will tell us how unique they can be.
‘A werewolf among us’: oil and a nightmare in doors
This year, several productions have played with the idea of the monster that lurks in a small town. The Norwegian Post Mortem: Nobody dies in Skarnes (2021), from Netflix, analyzed the vampire in the middle of a town devastated by disenchantment. And the curious Midnight Mass (2021) is an inexplicable mystery in an insular space.
Josh Ruben, who does not have so many ambitions and who is more concerned with making laugh than terrorizing, analyze the issue from the basics. Once he establishes that this is a common town until the tedious thing, the director dedicates to speculate the singular thing that could happen in a similar place. And it does so with a quirky atmosphere that game lovers will recognize. Is something happening here? Yes and no. Or rather, it is happening but not exactly what you think.
Perhaps, one of the benefits of this twisted comedy unpretentious is the fact of creating a version about fear based on surprise. From Sam Richardson’s Finn Wheeler to George Basil’s Marcus, the cast understands their characters from simplicity. Because, although what is about to happen may not be routine, the conflict they will face is. What happens when a tiny town is isolated in the snow ?; even more so, when this town also has to deal with an inexplicable threat. The two things together manage to come up with something more interesting than might be supposed.
Of course and like any comedy that leans towards the supernatural, A Werewolf Among Us insists on the tension factor. Who is to blame for the deaths? The method of showing and hiding conflicting signals creates the ideal setting for camera games, double-talk jokes and ridiculous clues. Josh Ruben doesn’t have the knack for A Werewolf Among Us to be anything more than comedy, but he does have the knack for not disappointing at its highest points and not entirely unsatisfying at its lows.
‘A Werewolf Among Us’: Laughter, an Effective Adaptation, and Some Good Decisions
Without a doubt, a werewolf among us It is not a great comedy, although it is a precise adaptation. That small imbalance of tension and rhythm between the two causes the film to go through script ups and downs with worrying frequency. But still, it makes you laugh. She does it because of her good intentions, because of how little she takes herself seriously. In particular, for the journey between the codes of terror that is sustained by a charismatic cast.
A Werewolf Among Us is a look at a certain kind of black humor that can usually be easy. And here it certainly happens. However, there is a well-intentioned journey and better structured by the idea of the humorous and the perverse. In the middle of the snow, with a werewolf hidden in the dark, It only remains to sit at the bar and laugh. Or that seems to be the great message of this curious combination between a video game that saw better years and a comedy in search of personality.