The first reactions to Marvel’s Werewolf by Night began to hit the Internet – with critics calling it an “instant classic” that could steer the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) into new and unexpected directions.
The upcoming MCU Phase 4 project, which lands on Disney Plus on Friday, October 7 and received its first trailer at the D23 Expo, was positioned as Marvel’s first true horror movie. And based on what critics say since the lifting of the social embargo, Werewolf by Night is as brutal and surreal as many fans hope it will be.
Werewolf by Night is Marvel’s first attempt to create a so-called Special Showcase – i.e. a one-off TV show that, like Moon Knight, fits into the wider MCU world but also exists as a standalone property. Given the more mature content that Moon Knight contained and the new possibilities it opened up in the Marvel juggernaut series, it won’t be a big surprise when critics compare the two.
James Viscardi of ComicBook.com was one such journalist to point out the parallels between the duo, calling Werewolf by Night “surprisingly brutal” and “an instant classic that you can watch immediately”:
The Marvel Disney + shows were a bit in terms of quality on the map, but #WerewolfByNight is certainly the best thing they’ve done. Yes, even better than the #MoonKnight (which you all know I loved) pic.twitter.com/JYhwimtJgmSeptember 26, 2022
Eric Goldman of Fandom said Werewolf by Night is “an exciting example of how … [Marvel] can push boundaries “, adding a monochrome aesthetic” fits perfectly with the story and is so unique in the MCU “:
I love #WerewolfByNight! The black and white classic take on horror fits the story perfectly and is so unique in the MCU. This is an exciting example of how they can push boundaries. The cast is great and I hope to see more of them and things like that. pic.twitter.com/YJoTqmPXWoSeptember 26, 2022
SlashFilm reporter Rafael Motamayor referred to the TV show as “The Marvel Studios Monster Mash You’ve Been Waiting For” before stating how director Michael Giacchino’s vision helped Werewolf by Night bear the hallmarks of classic Universal monster movies:
#WerewolfByNight is the Marvel Studios Monster Mash you’ve been waiting for! Great Universal Classic Monsters vibes and surprisingly LOT of violence for a Marvel title. Michael Giacchino kills him, but Gael García Bernal is the star. FANTASTIC use of Man-Thing. # FantasticFest2022September 26, 2022
Others quickly praised the cast of the TV show, with Anthony Gagliardi of The Movie Podcast calling Gael Garcia Bernal’s lead star “fantastic” and key supporting actress Laura Donnelly “a bad ass”:
Michael Giacchino’s #WerewolfByNight captures the aesthetics of an old Hollywood horror movie from the 1940s, but with Marvel flair. It has just the right amount of tension to pull you in and scare you. Gael García Bernal is fantastic and Lauren Donnelly is a bad ass! @MarvelStudios @m_giacchino pic.twitter.com/3Xxb6VwElPSeptember 26, 2022
Meanwhile, MCU whistleblower BigScreenLeaks was one of the few critics to pick Man-Thing, the next monster to appear in Werewolf by Night, as a potential “fan favorite” in this Marvel’s “camp” horror film project:
Marvel made a huge swing with #WerewolfByNight and they knocked him out of the park. I love how the atmosphere of camp horror combined with the Marvel style! @GaelGarciaB is the perfect actor to play Jack Russell, and Man Thing will become a fan favorite! @m_giacchino did not disappoint. pic.twitter.com/jSdxOnIR7jSeptember 26, 2022
Collider’s Rob Keyes was a little less enthusiastic about the supporting cast, saying they “are not on the same level” as other Disney Plus MCU shows. However, he called it an “exciting Halloween event” that offers a glimpse into how Marvel Studios can develop the more supernatural / monstrous side of the MCU:
My #WerewolfByNight thoughts: Marvel’s new monsters and leads are amazing, as is the direction and music of Michael Giacchino! Supporting characters aren’t on the same level, but Werewolf By Night is still an exciting Halloween party that they should be doing more. pic.twitter.com/AAranUHjw4September 26, 2022
Finally, Gizmodo’s scribe Germain Lussier called Werewolf by Night “a love letter to old school monster movies” that tells a captivating story within 60 minutes:
Monster hunters with super weapons, amazing creatures, crazy black and white blood, #WerewolfByNight is a love letter to old school monster movies in a tight 1 hour package. #FantasticFest #MarvelStudios pic.twitter.com/XnIIUUqQFzSeptember 26, 2022
While it’s fantastic to hear about how good Werewolf by Night is, it should be said that this is only a small selection of critical verdicts. There will likely be more ahead of the TV show’s release early next month, including reviews that are not as positive.
Still, Werewolf by Night sounds like it’s destined for an unnecessarily brutal and terrible seasonal watch when it lands on Disney Plus soon. We hope these early reactions are a sign of how spectacularly terrifying it will be, and ultimately won’t divide it like other MCU 2022 projects like Thor: Love and Thunder or another horror-themed superhero movie in Doctor Strange 2.
For more MCU-based content, check out our Marvel Videos in the Ordering Guide. Alternatively, find out what’s coming as part of Marvel Phase 5 or read up on everything worth knowing about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.