As film fans, there’s always a handful of films that we allow to pass us by. This isn’t necessarily indicative of their quality or our willingness to enjoy them – sometimes, we’re just a little late to the party.

As it’s both a horror-comedy and a video game adaptation, Werewolves Within probably shouldn’t inspire much hope when taken at face value. Fitting squarely into two separate subgenres with their own respective bad reputations, Werewolves Within certainly seemed doomed from the off. With a low budget and a cast of relative unknowns led by Sam Richardson (The Tomorrow War, Hocus Pocus 2) seeming to compound the problem, it’s not unreasonable to go into Werewolves Within with low expectations.

It’s made immediately apparent that these expectations should be ignored, though. Sam Richardson’s easy comedic charm immediately begins to assuage any fears of another mediocre video game adaptation, and instead, Werewolves Within begins building an interesting horror mystery with a liberal dose of comedy mixed in. The blending of genres is deftly done, and the resulting film feels far more natural as a result.

With a cast of well-written characters clearly designed to evoke the full societal spectrum, Werewolves Within wastes no time getting to business. When the tiny township of Beaverfield is isolated by a snowstorm and then set upon by a werewolf, it’s up to the overly nice but professionally competent Ranger Finn Wheeler (Richardson) to investigate while holing up in the local inn with the town’s residents. As well as the suspense one might expect from such a story, Werewolves Within also manages to evoke a sense of paranoia as each character’s motivations and secrets are revealed, building a genuine mystery around the identity of the killer.

There are a few elements of Werewolves Within that were distinctly predictable, but these are offset by a handful of innovative developments that keep the story fresh. The comedic chemistry of the cast is excellent, particularly as Finn makes such a compelling protagonist and serves as the emotional backbone of the story. Around Finn, Werewolves Within builds a genuinely engaging story that doesn’t rely on genre tropes to hook its audience. This is achieved through careful and clever writing, competent acting, and considered direction, and that’s what makes it such an entertaining film – all of its many aspects come together to make for a cohesive and well-rounded experience.

To top it off, a distinct visual style helps to make Werewolves Within extra unique, setting it apart from other similar movies by establishing its identity as an almost gleeful campy horror comedy alongside its mystery elements. It’s a film that’s laden with small elements of foreshadowing and easy-to-miss jokes worthy of a belly laugh, and that’s a big part of its charm. It perfectly combines the talents of its cast to make something that may not reinvent any genres, but fits perfectly within its specific niche. To that end, Werewolves Within is one of the most enjoyable horror-lite titles of recent years, and it dispels any presuppositions about its status as a video game adaptation.

Rating: 80%

Summary: An enjoyable and well-realized blending of genres, Werewolves Within is understated in its ability to deliver suspense and comedy in equal measure.

Highlights: Werewolves Within is loaded with small rewarding moments – both in regard to its comedy and its central mystery – and catching them is far more satisfying than it should be.