This Halloween, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going straight horror with the special presentation Werewolf by Night. The development of the special, which will bring one of Marvel’s most offbeat characters to live-action for the first time, was announced last August, and the creepy black-and-white trailer has fans excited to see how the classic horror tone will be integrated into the MCU’s Phase 4. Well, the special has screened, and critics are taking to social media with their first reactions ahead of the one-off's October 7 release for those with a Disney+ subscription.
The special stars Gael García Bernal as the titular Werewolf by Night, a.k.a. Jack Russell, alongside Harriet Sansom Harris and Laura Donnelly as monster hunters who engage in a deadly competition to capture the real monster, unaware that Jack Russell is the humanized form of their target. Let’s take a look at what people are saying, starting with CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg, who tweets that this is a very cool treat for MCU fans, and a unique project for the cross-platform franchise:
I hope we get to see a lot more projects like Werewolf By Night in the future of the MCU. It's a super simple story, but also aggressively self-contained and stylish in a way that's unique for the franchise. A very cool Halloween treat. On Disney+ 10/7 pic.twitter.com/soXqIAJkbISeptember 26, 2022
Big Screen Leaks also acknowledges what a "big swing" this is for Marvel, saying it pays off with campy vibes and good performances:
Marvel took a big swing with #WerewolfByNight and they knocked it out of the park. I love how the campy horror vibes blended with the Marvel style! @GaelGarciaB is the perfect actor to play Jack Russell and Man Thing will become a fan favourite! @m_giacchino didn't disappoint. pic.twitter.com/jSdxOnIR7jSeptember 26, 2022
Always put your money on Man-Thing, amirite? Chris Stuckmann says Werewolf By Night isn’t afraid to bring the blood and gore, as well as great fight scenes, of course, because it’s Marvel:
Didn’t expect the first #FantasticFest Secret Screening to be #WerewolfByNight directed by @m_giacchino one of my favorite composers. If you’re nostalgic for creature features of the 1930s this will be right up your alley. There’s plenty of blood and gore, and exciting fights. pic.twitter.com/1LYqP0jWJPSeptember 26, 2022
There’s also much praise among the first wave of reactions for director/composer Michael Giacchino, with critic Erik Davis praising the way he blends classic horror with MCU’s sense of humor:
Marvel’s #WerewolfByNight is a spooky & moody monster tale w/ beautiful photography & big throwback vibes. Director Michael Giacchino does a great job blending the look & feel of classic horror from the ‘30s & ‘40s w/ amusing MCU touches. Ted is MVP, imo. Fun & different pic.twitter.com/tP2usD3AJOSeptember 26, 2022
Erik Voss says the director has accomplished something special and notes that Werewolf by Night hits all the proper genre notes.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT is the confident swing in tone from Marvel on Disney+ that I’ve been waiting for.Genuinely scary at times and dripping with macabre camp, it doesn’t pull punches in violent delights.Michael Giacchino pulled off something truly special.More of this please!September 26, 2022
Many of those who were able to screen the special mentioned they were left wanting more, either in the sense of more self-contained holiday-themed stories, like the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, or just more time spent in this particular story with Jack Russell, Man-Thing et al. To that end, Sean Chandler tweets that his biggest complaint is the special isn’t long enough:
Werewolf By Night is a cool and campy new addition to the MCU. It’s a stand alone story with its own unique tone and style. …and there’s plenty of blood spilled. My biggest issue is also a bit of compliment, I wish it was 90 minutes long! pic.twitter.com/Nfv7GOK6kASeptember 26, 2022
Brandon Davis says he immediately wanted to watch the special again once he finished, and with a runtime of just over 52 minutes, per Collider, that definitely sounds like an option. Davis tweets:
Hats off to @m_giacchino for taking directorial risks that pay off in #WerewolfByNight, delivering awesome characters and monsters in a violent black & white saga.Elsa kicks ass. Jack is a great, unpredictable addition. Hope to see more.I immediately wanted to watch again. pic.twitter.com/whtr7VdzMVSeptember 26, 2022
Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill even teases a surprising appearance by a cult comic character, and says the special is a super fun Halloween treat:
Marvel’s WEREWOLF BY NIGHT is the 70s horror comics through a 1930s lens. Super fun. And goes way harder than Marvel ever has. Plus it includes an amazing Cult comic character you are not gonna see coming and I can’t believe I saw on the big screen. A true spooky October treat.September 26, 2022
The first reactions to Werewolf By Night are definitely enough to get MCU fans excited, particularly if they like to indulge in classic horror this time of year. The release of the special isn’t too far off, as it will be available to stream on Disney+ on Friday, October 7. This story is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4, so check out the upcoming movies for Phases 4, 5, and 6, and if you’re ready for a deep dive, here’s how to watch all of the Marvel movies in order.
Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.
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