Werewolf By Night
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Laura Donnelly, Harriet Sansom Harris, Kirk R. Thatcher, and Euginie Bondurant
Written by: Heather Quinn and Peter Cameron
Directed by: Michael Giacchino
“The known universe, with its heroes and marvels, but what of the darkness? In our modern world this is Where Monsters Dwell, alongside those who hunt and slaughter them with pride!”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe receives a wild and wooly new entry and flavor in Werewolf By Night – billed as “A Marvel Studios Special Presentation” and streaming now on Disney+.
Complete with two customized vanity cards, one of which is provided a brand new “haunted” version of the MCU fanfare, this breezy streaming special is an entirely new flavor of Marvel Studios’ efforts. Additionally, it’s a freaking blast and precisely the kind of Halloween/”spooky season” fare we love to see around these parts.
When legendary monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone dies, other monster hunters, including his estranged daughter Elsa (the wickedly cool Laura Donnelly), gather to pay respects. They also gather to compete for the honor of inheriting The Bloodstone – the (un)holy relic that made the Bloodstone dynasty such proficient “death dealers.”
The contest is simple. The Bloodstone will be affixed to the hide of brand-new monsters and whoever can bring it down and take the stone will gain it. Unbeknownst to the hunters, a monster walks amongst them and transforms the contest into a fight for their very lives!
Critically Werewolf By Night nails the vibe of old-school Gerry Conway, Mike Ploog, and Roy Thomas horror magazines. Shot in a sumptuous black-and-white styling that instantly calls to mind the Universal Horror pictures, the whole special impresses. Not only with its energy but with its whole construction. A construction that is further bolstered with earnestness.
You can tell that first-time director and long-time composer Michael Giacchino loves these comics, movies, and characters. His love and care translate through into each set piece and throughout the cast’s performances.
Moreover, Werewolf By Night is really goddamn weird and shockingly gory regarding what we know of Marvel Studios’ efforts—backing that aforementioned earnestness with real-deal horror and staying true to the spirit and tonality of characters like Elsa Bloodstone and the wonderfully presented Man-Thing. As well as delivering some genuinely striking and well-blocked werewolf action. Larry Talbot, eat your heart out! LITERALLY!
As a result, this “Special Presentation” experiment of Marvel is a rousing, crowd-pleasing success. Although I could knock it slightly for being too short, Werewolf By Night represents several super weird and super fun steps in the right direction for the MCU.
Werewolf By Night, a Marvel Studios Special Presentation, is streaming now on Disney+.