On a chilly October night, Marvel executives decided to bring a spooky new holiday surprise to their adoring fans and Disney+ members. “Werewolf by Night,” a classic black-and-white slasher with a modern twist, takes 55 minutes of your time in exchange for some hope for Marvel’s future.
It’s no secret that Marvel reached its crescendo with “Avengers: Endgame.” The deaths of beloved characters, the conclusion of an epic storyline, and a monetary record to rival box office behemoth “Avatar,” solidified “Avengers: Endgame” as the end of Marvel’s time in the spotlight.
However, the content continued. Show after show, another film followed another, all to mixed reviews. The split began to hit Marvel fans as the excitement and hype began to wane and fade. People got tired of the same old stories and formulas. A character has a problem, they are taught a lesson, there are a few laughs and gags along the way, and after some sacrifice, a CGI battle concludes the film. So what does this have to do with “Werewolf by Night”? Let me explain.
“Werewolf by Night” follows our two main characters, Jack Russell and Elsa Bloodstone, on their quest for the legendary relic Bloodstone. The world is quickly introduced as monster hunters are led into the Bloodstone Mansion. Monster heads adorn the grayscale walls, ancient decor drapes the rooms in elegance, and an animated corpse adds just the right amount of awkward Halloween humor.
The plot is simple: Hunters are dropped into a maze with a monster, and whoever defeats the monster first wins the Bloodstone. The setup looks interesting, and you settle in to witness high-stakes tension and a surprising amount of gore just before the whole premise gets twisted. I won’t spoil the movie (I think you should see it for yourself) but I will say that the first half is definitely more interesting than the second half.
IGN’s Ryan Leston has this to say, “Gael Garcia Bernal is excellent as Jack, and the dynamic between him and Laura Donnelly (Elsa) warrants the extra screen time.” “Werewolf by Night” might not make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat with a slow, creeping tone that captures the best of classic horror.
I give it a 6/10.
So why is a 6/10 Marvel short important? The importance of this film lies not in its story, or even in its visuals, but in its style. The story reflects the practical effects of the 1940s and includes lens distortion and slower pacing. This all points to something new in Marvel – breaking the mold.
As more and more generic superhero movies are produced by studios, there must be superhero movies that stand above the rest. “Werewolf by Night” is proof that while Marvel is fallible, they recognize that to save Marvel’s future, they will have to change.