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'Night of the Werewolf' review: Disney+'s Marvel Horror Special keeps it cool and simple

Right now, no streamer is more fun than Disney+ with unlimited programming space, unlimited money, and unlimited IP. Whether it’s a 6-hour commercial — er… “documentary” — for a Disney-adjacent asset, or a 5-minute animated short centered around various beloved characters, when will the content premiere on Disney+ be? An ongoing series, limited series, which is never entirely clear, feature-length film or vaguely “special.”

In the latter category, Disney+ dropped the often inconsistent Muppet House last October. It continues the company’s inexplicably continuous effort to figure out clever things to do with the seemingly endless line of replaceable Muppets, but only in 49 minutes, still packed with catchy moments that feel like the kind of small, non-hazardous swing that Disney should have taken.

Nocturnal Werewolf

Bottom Line A mild but creepy seasonal special.

So is the Disney+ Halloween special this October, “Night of the Werewolf” . Representing versatile and award-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s solid transition to live-action director, Wolfman of the Night allows Disney to tiptoe Enter the scarier cornersMarvel catalog for the lowest stakes. It’s only 52 minutes, and the plot and supporting cast are noticeably light, which is a slight but rather interesting thing that goes beyond the main character’s style exercise Gael Garcia Bernal with Laura Donnelly.

Writers Heather Quinn and Peter Cameron have approached the Werewolf by Night property, which dates back to the early ’70 era, efficient. A narrator tells us that legendary monster hunter Ulysses Bradstone has passed away, leaving a priceless supernatural relic for a yet-to-be-determined heir. In addition to glowing red in an otherwise black-and-white world, bloodstone also confers enhanced strength, protection, and longevity to its owner.

Ulysses’ natural heir, Elsa Boudstone of Donnelly, keeps her family away from business, so his widow (Harriet Sansom Harris, perfectly Arousing every stern butler or menacing matriarch to grace the horror screen) is challenging to inherit the bloodstone. She invited some of the world’s most famous monster hunters — mostly nameless, characterless characters played by the likes of Kirk Thatcher, Leonardo Nan and Jacob Maya — to the blood Stone Manor. Every hunter has a famous killing résumé, but none come close to Jack Russell (Garcia Bernal), a thoughtful, mysterious man with kinky tendencies. Elsa also chose this moment to return to the family, but the agenda is not clear.

As for the game? A particularly terrifying beast, a well-known commodity to Marvel fans, will be released with a bloodstone attached. Catch the monster? Get the Bloodstone! Simple.

Simple is really the name of the game for Night Wolf . Bloodstone Manor is a beautifully designed labyrinth consisting of gardens, catacombs, evocative library and open rotunda, after the introduction of the premise setting, what is special is that many people are rushing at the door, being Trapped in mausoleums and other settings for short-but-interesting battles and showcasing moody and evocative lighting.

This is an obvious and special opportunity for Giacchino to check out a list of vintage ghost tributes, here is a tip cap to the Universal Monster classic, a tribute to the Hammer Goth there metaphorical tribute. It’s not always a cohesive mixture that swings wildly from one rich and truly evocative moment to the next with a deliberate cliché, and I’d say Giacchino and cinematographer Zoë White might push the aesthetic’s extremes even further. Like if you’re going to include cheeky cigarette burns as a reminder to change non-existent film, why not stand the shot more and give it more of a celluloid texture? Still, if you just use everything in Night Wolf as a proof of concept that the Disney+/Marvel branding can include this crazy corner of the comic book classic, it works .

Nocturnal Werewolf A little scary, but not too scary. A little bloody, but not too bloody. This special edition is more driven by makeup effects than CG, but there are a few of them, and while you’ll see some decently implemented creatures and such, the sound design supersedes anything obvious or graphic. Given Giacchino’s background — the number of composers I can count on to be a director is very small, and it’s much easier to think of a director who also dabbles in composition — the outstanding element that ties it all together is delightful, and it’s no surprise at all. The arches score, allowing the likes of Franz Waxman ( Bride of Frankenstein ) and James Bernard (too many hammer movies to list) Such people are proud.

Garcia Bernal makes his character tortured with a touch of humor, minutes provide enough time to make viewers say, “I want to learn more about this monster hunter,” but not enough time to really understand anything. Great to see both Garcia Bernal and longtime friend and collaborator Diego Luna anchoring genre entries on Disney+, though Andor found a more provocative undercurrent in Luna’s outsider identity. Again, time is running out here! Garcia Bernal and Donnelly have a bit of chemistry, Donnelly is super funny and annoyed by all the horrible process, but again there is no time for more than that.

A few minutes of conversation between Jack and Elsa, not very flirtatious, but at least the idea of ​​flirting, plus the funny capper at the end of the special, easily piqued me Interest in future monster hunting teams. Presumably the good folks at Marvel and Disney+ know that if you signed Gael Garcia Bernal to play a monster-chasing werewolf, you’re not going to be in a one-off holiday special wasting him. Whether Werewolf of the Night spawns a TV series, feature-length movie, or other narrative permutation doesn’t matter to me — and, happily, Disney+ doesn’t seem to have any any of the rules.

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