Werewolf by Midnight is a 50-minute Marvel Halloween special, shot mostly in black and white which has more in common with classic monster movies than the adventures of the Avengers. The television special is directed by Michael Giacchino and written by Heather Quinn and Peter Cameron.
With a prime focus on Jack Russell (Gael García) trying to complete a personal mission amidst five monster hunters fighting for a powerful relic. This spooky season project is a sweet love letter to old monster movies, playing with the aesthetic of the classic Universal and Hammer output, and also adding cue marks to the top right corner of the screen.
Werewolf by Night Cast
Gael García Bernal stars in the special as Jack Russell, Laura Donnelly as Elsa Bloodstone, and Harriet Sansom Harris as Verussa Bloodston. Additional monster hunters include Kirk Thatcher as Joshua Jovan, Eugenie Bondurant as Azarel, Leonardo Nam as Liorn, Al Hamacher as Billy Swan, Daniel J. Watts as Barasso, and Carey Jones portrays Ted Sallis / Man-Thing.
Ulysses Bloodstone, the infamous monster hunter, has passed and his widow has summoned the best monster hunters from all over to pay their respects. Among them is Jack Russell and Ulysses’ estranged daughter Elsa. The animated corpse of Ulysses reveals the crew is actually there to fight for the role of the ruby-red bloodstone’s new owner, a birthright that Elsa has come back to claim. In order to do so, the gang of killers must retrieve the bloodstone from the back of a monster lurking in the castle garden which is conveniently littered with various weapons. Once the competition begins, blood is shed, alliances are formed, and secrets are revealed.
The storyline comes off as nothing short of perfection, It is entertaining and complete. And yet manages to leave the viewers craving for more with their smooth elements of dark comedy, light romance, and refreshing friendship. However, the characters have not been able to showcase their full potential due to the short runtime. Werewolf by Night succeeds in bringing the fun and fright factor with great balance.
As for Jack Russell, he is simply fine in the role but there are new characters that seem to make a bigger impression. Elsa with her role is particularly striking and stands off as one of the best aspects in the special serving brilliant chemistry.
Michael Giacchino composes a larger-than-life score transporting the audiences right back to the golden age of horror. He perfectly blurs the line between man and monster while pushing the plot on how dark yet delightful MCU characters can be. Werewolf by Night takes an admirable approach to what it means to be a monster and how sometimes the worst monsters are the man himself. With Giacchino’s directorial debut, he is able to shine a light on the complexities of man’s dual nature which is suitable for both adults and children alike. In a world full of flashy superheroes, Giacchino shows audiences that sometimes it’s ok to be a monster instead.
Werewolf by Night is a light watch at best, it is uniquely dark and entertaining with a great hint of intensity. It also marks an exciting turn for the MCU, all of the things that make it a perfect watch for this season.