Werewolf by Night claws its way to the top of my MCU list.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe dips their paw into the Horror Genre with the Disney+ TV special Werewolf by Night. The hour-long Marvel Comics adaptation stars Gael García Bernal (Coco, Old) as the titular werewolf, Laura Donnelly (Outlander, The Nevers) as Elsa Bloodstone and Harriet Sansom Harris (Frasier, Desperate Housewives) as Verussa Bloodstone.
The story follows five monster hunters competing for the coveted Bloodstone, a powerful artifact passed down through generations of hunters. At the behest of the stone’s deceased owner, the hunters must fight in a battle-royale style competition while hunting down a terrifying monster. However, Jack Russell (Bernal) and Elsa Bloodstone (Donnelly) have a different plan in mind. Mazes, monsters and mayhem await these hunters as they fight to become the new leader of Bloodstone Manor.
Writers Heather Quinn and Peter Cameron, previously known for Hawkeye, WandaVision and Moon Knight, use their adaptation skills and comic book knowledge to bring life to a story that allows Jack Russell to be charming, sweet and tragic. It also helps that Bernal brings a genuine charisma to the role that makes you crave more as he bounces off the other character in a way that makes them shine even brighter. His dialogue with Donnelly’s Elsa is a masterclass in balancing character and plot.
With a refreshing amount of practical effects mixed with the MCU sheen, Werewolf by Night manages to capture the B-Movie aesthetic while enjoying the modern conveniences of visual effects. Director Michael Giacchino’s minimalist approach to visual effects allows the viewers to fill in the blanks of terrors happening off-screen and makes the sparse moments of CG stand out expertly. He uses black-and-white in a way that creates striking silhouettes and memorable shots, while adding cute little touches to the screen like film grain and cue marks that make you nostalgic for films of old.
If you’re looking for some spooky fun that’s camp, creative, and not too scary, you couldn’t find a better project. So grab your popcorn, get comfy, and hide from the moon with this perfect entry in the MCU canon.
Werewolf by Night is now streaming on Disney+.
— Tauri Jay Miller