Werewolf By Night Review


The following contains spoilers for Werewolf by Night.

Marvel Studios’ Werewolf by Night is the MCU’s newest TV special that surprised a lot of fans in a good way for its refreshing take on the beloved universe. Taking place on a single night, the 52-minute special follows a group of experienced monster hunters who are on a competitive hunt to decide who will next wield the Bloodstone —an incredibly powerful red gem that is capable of giving the user immense strength and longer life— after the death of Ulysses Bloodstone. Joining the group is Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal), a monster hunter who is actually a werewolf due to a curse that’s been put upon him. Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly), the estranged daughter of Ulysses and stepdaughter of Verussa Bloodstone (Harriet Sansom Harris), is also determined to win the hunt. During the quest, Jack and Elsa team up to get what they both want, with Jack wanting to save the monster aka his friend, Ted, and Elsa wanting to get the Bloodstone as she is technically the rightful heir. However, little did Elsa know that Jack is hiding something.

Werewolf by Night contributed to a lot of firsts for the growing MCU family. One, it is the first feature to ever delve into a darker route, considering that most MCU projects lean toward action and humor. Second, the special is the first one to have horror and werewolves as the focus. Third, this is Michael Giacchino‘s directorial debut as he’s most known for composing other Marvel and Disney films such as the Spider-Man trilogy and Up, with the latter having been recognized by the Academy Awards. Despite not having a lot of promotions as compared to the big MCU projects, this one exceeded the expectations of many and is also growing to be one of the best projects in Phase 4. There are just a lot of things that make this one an excellent early Halloween treat.

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Diving into the Horror Genre

Horror is not entirely new to the MCU as we already had a taste of it in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) where we see Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) trying to fix the broken multiverse while fighting monsters, variants, and a distraught Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen). This Sam Raimi film has many horror elements in it, complete with jump scares and all. But Werewolf by Night brings a different submission in the genre in a way that better introduces what the people want to see more of in the MCU.

According to Kevin Feige, the studio wanted to explore a “new side of the MCU” by bringing in something that’s fun, unusual, and a frightening spin on the supernatural, and they did just that. Sure, the sequel to Doctor Strange is filled with creepy creatures, but this one certainly has more depth and scare factor to it, considering that most of us grew up hearing stories about werewolves. Whether we were afraid of the stories or unfazed, it’s likely that Werewolf by Night is something that we may find strangely familiar.

Giacchino having this as his first directorial gig is nothing short of impressive, and one can just tell how much of his creativity was put into this to make sure it has everything we want and need to see in a horror. From the very beginning, it exudes a creepy yet nostalgic feel to it with the help of using black and white filters and the way it’s initially narrated. What’s also unique about this is that there really isn’t that much of an in-depth explanation as to the history of the Bloodstone and the characters’ backgrounds, so it is as if viewers are just pushed into this crazy ride without any instructions. Having little to no history is not that ideal, but it works for this one. In fact, this choice made the special even eerier than it already is.

The Special Uses Practical Effects Instead of CGI

One of the things we can usually expect about the horror genre is gore. While it is understandable that all MCU projects —especially those that are released on Disney+— have a limit to the amount of body horror and blood that the viewers can see, Werewolf by Night certainly tried to get right on the edge of it. For instance, there is a scene where Elsa is fighting Azarel (Eugenie Bondurant), one of the monster hunters. Elsa manages to defeat Azarel by slitting her throat and effectively ending it by slicing a part of her head using a sword which is as awful and gruesome as it sounds. There’s also that iconic scene where Jack, now turned into a werewolf, is ripping all the guards one by one while the door slowly closes and ends up splattering blood on the camera. Now, there is almost always a fight scene in the MCU, but this one is different from the rest because, much like other classic horrors, this one uses practical effects —from the werewolf suit to the set. CGI is great and all, but there is just something about practical effects that heighten the horror or eerie factor and make it more realistic.

Why We Need More of This in the MCU

Most MCU projects have followed the same superhero-saving-the-world formula for many years, and while they are still enjoyable to watch, it would be nice to see them switch things up a bit to bring more unique and awaited stories to the table. Venturing into a new genre is definitely a gamble, but they won with Werewolf by Night. Not only is the special quickly becoming a favorite among viewers, but it also opened a lot of opportunities to hopefully make more projects like this.


Review Werewolf by Night is just a great, spooky MCU treat for anyone who wants something fresh. It also proves that the studio should explore and experiment more instead of following the past projects’ direction. There’s still a lot that can be told and introduced to the MCU based on the comics, so there’s certainly room for newer things because sometimes, taking a risk is the best option.Werewolf by Night is now available to watch on Disney+.

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