Michael Giacchino’s directorial debut Werewolf by Night is a fun and spooky Halloween special that brings back memories of classic horror.
Based on a werewolf character from Marvel comics, Werewolf by Night features Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal.) The story focuses on a group of monster hunters who are competing for a powerful relic, known as the bloodstone. During this competition, they are simultaneously going up against a dangerous monster. Little do they know, that one of the “hunters” (Jack Russell) is a monster himself.
This one-hour special was filmed completely in black and white, reminiscent of classic horror. The exception is the bloodstone, which is a deep and rich red that pops against the limited palette. I think this allowed viewers to further grasp the power and importance of the stone. I loved the use of a limited palette, and the play with shadows and silhouettes, which left a lot to the imagination. Color is eventually introduced during the last sequences of the film, representing change in our lead characters.
Giacchino is of course known for his work as a composer. He’s created scores for a multitude of films, including 2022’s The Batman. Once again, he created a beautiful and spooky soundtrack for his directorial debut. The music definitely was reminiscent of classic horror and worked perfectly with the film.
The special stars Gael García Bernal as Jack Russell, Laura Donnelly as Elsa Bloodstone, and Harriet Sansom Harris as Verusa. I love how each of these characters contrasted with one another. Jack was sweet and almost innocent, Elsa was reserved but becomes warmer, and Verusa was witchy and cruel. I think each actor portrayed their characters in a believable manner, and each are charismatic in their own ways.
Werewolf by Night is definitely a must-see for spooky season. It’s fun, humorous, and surprisingly, quite brutal for a Disney project. I wish that the special was a little longer. In particular, I wanted to see more of Man Thing (who I thought was oddly cute and so funny!) I think this was a great introduction to Giacchino as a director and I hope to see more directorial projects from him in the future.
Werewolf by Night streams on Disney+ October 7, 2022.