“Werewolf By Night feels like a classic horror movie from the use of black and white to the tone and location, everything is there. It is gory and bloody but also fun.”
This week is a very special week for Marvel fans. Indeed, not only are we getting a new episode of She-Hulk today but tomorrow is the release of the first special presentation by Marvel Studios. Thus, that’s two MCU content in one week, double the fun! And for this first special, Marvel is entering the Halloween territory with Werewolf By Night. We were able to watch it earlier this week. So, is this another success for Marvel?
Right from the start, Werewolf By Night sets the mood. You know you are in for something macabre. All the way through, it feels like a classic horror film from the 1930s-1940s. This is the perfect tone for a Marvel Halloween special. And what better way to pay tribute to this genre than to introduce monsters in the MCU? Phase 4 has expanded this universe in so many ways pulling from the comics its weirder aspects. Marvel Comics has a rich history with monsters. Consequently, this special opens a lot more doors for the future.
This is a monster hunt story taking place at the Bloodstone Temple. A dreadful place pulled out directly from a horror film. As the title indicates the special introduces Jack Russell also known as Werewolf By Night as well as other characters. This includes Man-Thing. These are long awaited and fantastic additions to this universe. Jack’s relationship with Man-Thing is my favorite part of this story. They are definitely going to become an iconic duo. In just 53 minutes, it does a great job at filling us in on the monsters’ side of the MCU. Through dialogue and little details in this temple, we learn a lot. This is only the beginning.
Moreover, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we have seen that the MCU can tap into the horror genre. Werewolf By Night goes one step further. Indeed, it is bloody and gory. It doesn’t shy away from violence. For such a project, it is a good thing. I think the use of black and white helped allow this special to be like this. Michael Giacchino makes a triumphant directorial debut. You can tell he loves these classic horror films. Because he perfectly recreates the atmosphere from these. It feels so different from other Marvel projects and yet it fits just right into this universe. It knows how to be fun as well like the usual MCU content. And I may even be as bold to say that Werewolf by Night is one of the best MCU projects so far!
I really like Gael García Bernal’s work. So obviously, when I saw that he had joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was extremely happy. And he does not disappoint. I think he is a compelling Jack Russell bringing his wit to the character. The rest of the cast is great too. Laura Donnelly as Elsa Bloodstone is another highlight. She surely is a multi-layered character that Laura cleverly brings to the screen. I cannot wait to see these two again. Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later.
It is not just the tone and the story that feel like a classic horror film but the visuals as well. Indeed, it uses black and white with a grain overlay. Which adds to the old film vibe. Furthermore, using black and white means the cinematography needs to play with the light and shadows even more than colorized films do. Zoë White does that masterfully. If that wasn’t enough, the special effects are also made in that same old style. In fact, the Werewolf By Night costume is practical. This is glorious. I love everything about it. Finally, the location screams incoming massacre. The Bloodstone temple has a gothic style. Plus, everything outside is so gloomy. Yes, there is unavoidable smoke. It is the element you need in a maze and forest. This special checks all the right boxes.
Michael Giacchino assumes double duty on this special. He composes a marvelous score that amplifies the dreadful atmosphere. It is the right dosage of ominous and spooky. And just like old films, the score is constantly present so it plays an even more important role.
Werewolf By Night feels like a classic horror movie from the use of black and white to the tone and location, everything is there. It is gory and bloody but also fun. This is undoubtedly one of the best MCU projects and a great directorial debut for Michael Giacchino. This special also opens a lot of doors for the future of the franchise.
We need more specials like these. It is a format that is in between a film and a TV series. Which is perfect to tell a lot of different stories and not necessarily stories that fit a theme like Halloween or Christmas.
Werewolf By Night starts streaming on Disney Plus tomorrow!