Fantastic Fest 2022: WEREWOLF BY NIGHT

Every year, Fantastic Fest has two secret screenings. Every attendee aims for those tickets, because one doesn’t know exactly what to expect. Now, there are plenty of rumors going around during the days leading up to these screenings, some of which have been right on the money. However, this year, no one expected the presence of Marvel Studios and their latest offering during the Halloween season.

For the first secret screening Fantastic Fest, the festival screened Marvel Studios’ “Special Presentation” of this year. This happens to be Werewolf By Night, a single episode show that features a horror-themed hero looking out for monsters hunted by humans. Unlike all of Marvel Studios’ shows and movies, this latest show is showcased in black and white and feels much like a classic monster movie. Directed and scored by Michael Giacchino, this strikingly different program is obviously a love letter to the archetypal Universal monster movies, blended with the heroics that people expect from Marvel Comics. The result is a fun and exciting new direction for the MCU that doesn’t necessarily beg to be apart of the bigger scheme of things planned for the MCU franchise.

The story involves a group of “monster hunter” humans who have battled various types of supernatural beings. Following the death of their leader, these hunters have gathered to determine who should assume the mantle of leadership by hunting a dangerous creature on the grounds of their leader’s property. Included in this group is a man named Jack Russell (Gael Garcia Bernal) who has a reputation for being a skilled monster hunter. However, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to Jack and his goals for being present at this gathering.

As a fan of classic horror from Universal, I feel that Giacchino has succeeded wonderfully in delivering an exciting and entertaining show that feels like nothing Marvel Studios has ever presented previously. While the writing is simple and nothing extraordinary, Giacchino and his crew have done exceptional work in creating a classic horror atmosphere that competently immerses audiences in this world and gives their audience thrills and amusement that one would expect from this style of thriller.

Gael Garcia Bernal works his natural charisma and comic timing to great effect as Jack Russell, and the show has a great supporting cast to back him up. In a way, it makes me a little sad that this single episode is the only one planned for this property (so far), because I could totally see myself enjoying further episodes with these characters within this world. I could honestly care less if this were to never tie in to any other Marvel Studios movie or show, because this story and characters is damn fine on its own.

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