Movie Review: Marvel Studios’ Werewolf By Night


Avery Coccozziello

Werewolf By Night is the first ever Marvel Halloween special to stream on Disney+

Max Spiegel, Staff Writer

After focusing on superheroes for over a decade, Marvel Studios has taken them out of the spotlight in their new Disney+ Halloween special, “Werewolf By Night”. 

Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Jack Russell along with Laura Donnelly and Harriet Sansom Harris. Werewolf by Night tells the story of Jack Russell and a group of monster hunters who participate in a deadly competition to determine who will wield the Bloodstone relic.

Werewolf by Night was also the directorial debut of famous composer Michael Giacchino. Giacchino has composed films such as The Star Trek reboot trilogy, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy, The Incredibles and even The Batman. With such an impressive resume, this was a highly anticipated comeuppance into directing.

Right off the bat, it was clear that this film is highly influenced by the classic universal monster movies from the 1930’s and 40’s; it does a great job capturing the aesthetic and tone of horror films from the past. I suspect that fans of those monster movies are going to love what Marvel did with this film. By having it shot primarily in black and white, Werewolf by Night has a distinct and interesting look that makes it stand out from other works the MCU has produced.

The plotline of this movie is quite simple compared to other Marvel projects which I would consider a positive. I’m glad it is a more small-scale project because it doesn’t have the weight of the franchise sitting on its shoulders. For it being his first time directing, I thought Michael Giacchino did an amazing job. When they announced that he was directing this movie, I didn’t know what to make of it, however, after watching I really hope he further experiments with directing in the future.

While I mostly enjoyed Werewolf by Night, I found that a big issue in this film was that the runtime was simply too short. I’m not saying that every Marvel movie needs to be a two and half to three hour long blockbuster, but with a runtime of only 55 minutes, it didn’t give me enough time to get invested in the plot and characters. If the movie had spent a longer time developing the story, I think it would have been one of the best and most unique Marvel movies to date. Another issue I found was that the designs for the monsters themselves looked very cheap. Maybe it was due to a low budget, but with how successful the Marvel franchise is I definitely expected for the special effects to be better. 

I find that in the new phase of Marvel a lot of their projects have been very hit or miss. Furthermore, I feel that their new Disney+ content doesn’t meet Marvel’s high standards. Werewolf By Night is easily my favorite of the Disney+ originals because it tried something different within the Marvel universe. While the film had its downsides, I hope to see Marvel Studios do more projects like this in the future.