Werewolf at night – launches Friday on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar – propels the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a new dimension. On paper at least. This is the first TV special that Marvel Studios produced. (Television special is basically a fancy term for an hour-long film.) The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special – coming out in December, also by Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar – is set set is the first movie, but Werewolf at night emerged last month at Disney’s D23 Expo 2022. More importantly, Werewolf at night It’s also the MCU’s first full-length horror film, although we got there with Sam Raimi-directed Doctor Strange in Madness’s Multiverse, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, earlier this year. .
Interesting, Werewolf at night also come from an unexpected source. It was directed by Michael Giacchino, the man best known for composing indistinguishable background scores for several Marvel movies, including the Cumberbatch lead. Sorcerer Supreme, Thor: Love and Thunder with Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, and Tom Holland’s Spiderman trilogy of works. That guy doing a horror creature feature about monster hunter now? Marvel head Kevin Feige was also surprised by Giacchino’s choice of characters. But as Feige listened more, he became more enthusiastic – and suggested Giacchino incorporate the swamp creature Man-Thing.
Giacchino said he was inspired by American horror films of the 1930s-40s. About his credit card, Werewolf at night Good imitation of the style of these decades. First, the Marvel TV special is presented entirely in black and white – this is not the first season for MCUbecause we had an episode or two of the WandaVision do it – with “cigarette burns” appearing in places to complete the look. What detracts from modernity, however, is the depth of field and the use of anamorphic lenses. Giacchino, who is also of course a composer here, even brings in songs from the late 30s, with one by Vera Lynn and another by The Wizard of Oz.
What is most suitable for Werewolf at night is all felt tangible. Unlike the widespread abuse of CGI and virtual backgrounds in the MCU, Marvel TV specials rely heavily on realistic effects, be it with creatures, actions or surroundings. Werewolf at night balance between violence and humor – screenplay by Heather Quinn (Hawk Eye) and Peter Cameron (WandaVision) – and even packed a little heart. In all its hunting and running around, it finds quiet moments with the main characters, as they study the traumas of family and generation.
But while it might be the MCU’s first proper horror story, I don’t think it’s effective in that respect. Sure, there are times when blood runs down your screen – Werewolf at night escaped with a less punitive rating, as the blood isn’t red thanks to the whole thing being black and white – but I can’t recall any actual scares. An even bigger problem is that it’s too short. Ends at 48 minutes – duration of one Loki episode or there – Werewolf at night didn’t have enough time to molt its characters. It ends before it actually begins.
An animated lore render at the top Werewolf at night tells us that the famous monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone (voiced by Richard Dixon) has died, leaving behind the Bloodstone relic, a powerful stone very useful for monster hunters. In accordance with Ulysses’ wishes, a “ritual hunt” was organized. Whoever kills the monster and obtains the Bloodstone relic will be designated “the new leader of the war against the monster”, as Verussa, the widow of Ulysses (Harriet Sansom Harris) said at the beginning. Werewolf at night to the gathered group of monster hunters.
Said group includes a bunch of really unimportant faces. Dedicated to Ulysses’ estranged daughter, Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly), who left her father years ago – Verussa calls her “disappointment”, while Elsa turns her face when Verussa calls herself Ulysses’ lover. And our main character, Jack Russell / The Night Werewolf (Gael García Bernal). Werewolf at night try to create a meal from the alter ego of the lead, but that only works if you haven’t seen the posters, trailers, or any literal marketing pieces. (And now, this review. Sorry?)
Light spoilers ahead for Werewolf at night.
The first half of the first Marvel TV special plays out as part setup and part Hunger game, with the second half devoted to examining the other side of Jack. Everyone, including monsters, is fair game. And given that the monster hunters have 200 kills between them, they don’t do punches.
Thanks to the expanded content rating, Werewolf at night could introduce a series of brutal murders. The best scenes are reserved for the climactic third action sequence, where Giacchino really exploits the menacing and uncompromising side of his protagonist. But the rest of it can be a bit of a hassle – once it’s set up in a few minutes, for example, the whole monster hunt is done very quickly and easily.
Most of that is due in part to the brief timeframe allotted to Werewolf at night. Although that is commendable Marvel Studios open for testing, I’m not sure it’s committing to the right projects. The last one is a series of shorts I’m Groot, and there’s very little value there, too. But while Vin Diesel’s talking tree has a big enough place in the ever-expanding MCU, it’s not entirely clear how. Werewolf at night connect to any of them. Right now, it feels like Jack and Co exist in a parallel world.
Even Marvel Studios itself seems unrelated to the entire business. Co-executive producer Brian Gay refused to give a straight answer when ask about the future by Werewolf by Night. On the other hand, Gay suggestions that he wants more monsters to appear in upcoming projects – but will that happen with the main MCU movies and series, or on a side like this?
Werewolf at night begins by revealing a new animated trailer “Marvel Studios Special Presentation” ahead of the regular Marvel Studios series. The fact that they have gone to great lengths to create one may indicate that we can expect many more of them in the future.
The problem is that Marvel currently has too many (weird) characters – many of them introduced in Multiverse Sagabegin post-game ending – that you wonder how many people will be forgotten when we arrive next Avengers movie. Werewolf by Night seems like a top contender.
Werewolf at night published Friday, October 7 at 12am Pacific Time / 12:30pm IST on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar wherever available.