Werewolf By Night was Marvel’s worst-kept secret since the rumoured appearance of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in No Way Home. The formal announcement by Marvel Studios came less than a month ago after numerous trade reports and teasers from legendary composer and first-time director Michael Giacchino. From classic horror homages to witty banter to Ted (we love Ted), Werewolf By Night is the least MCU thing the MCU has done in years and is destined to be one of the best things it has ever put out.
Gael García Bernal is the perfect choice to play Jack Russell and brings loads of charisma to the role. Harriet Sansom Harris plays Verussa Bloodstone and is so campy and villainy in the role that you can’t help but smile with joy. The entire cast is excellent, but Laura Donnelly is the real MVP here. The character of Else Bloodstone is a fan favourite and people have been waiting a long time to see her onscreen. Her portrayal is excellent and I cannot wait to see more of this character in the future.
Surprisingly, the best thing about Werewolf By Night is not the cast but rather the production design. For once, it’s very cool to see a Marvel production that doesn’t rely on any form of CGI to generate the environment. Giacchino and his team use good ol’ practical effects and set pieces to make everything. I also loved how it was shot in black and white with fake static film effects to make it feel like it was straight out of the 1930s. The costume design is very reminiscent of old monster movies in that it is all practical and has no CG. While Gael García Bernal’s Werewolf By Night outfit is classic, the most impressive thing to come from this project was the Man-Thing costume. It is truly a work of art. My hat goes off to the entire Werewolf By Night team for their incredible work.
Werewolf By Night is the least connected MCU project we have ever gotten (Yes, even more than Moon Knight) and this is a very good thing. I never felt like I needed any sort of additional context to watch this and I appreciated that on so many levels. I hope we see more projects like this where we can just watch and enjoy. This almost felt like a Phase 1 project and I mean that in the best way.
The message of the film is also very sweet. As Michael Giacchino said in my exclusive interview with him, “It’s always about this character struggling to find out who he is and why he is”. Werewolf By Night takes a really empathetic approach and feels like a character study of Jack Russell learning to understand the monster within him and I loved that.
Like Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy before it, Marvel Studios is going to make Werewolf By Night, a relatively unknown character in the general public, a household name. Thanks to the brilliance of first-time director Michael Giacchino, this is a film I’m going to be rewatching every Halloween and I think you will be too.