Werewolf by Night reviews call the Marvel Halloween special "a classic horror lover's dream"

Gael García Bernal in Werewolf by Night
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The latest addition to the MCU on Disney Plus is a Halloween special – Werewolf by Night has now arrived on the streamer. The one-off stars Gael García Bernal as the titular werewolf, who is also known as Jack Russell (yes, really) by day. And, as if lycanthropy and a canine given name didn't make life complicated enough, Jack is also a monster hunter. He joins a group of his fellow hunters at Bloodstone Temple after the death of their leader, Ulysses Bloodstone, to battle it out to find a mysterious and powerful relic. Laura Donnelly also stars as Ulysses' daughter Elsa.

But what are the critics saying about Werewolf by Night? Well, the consensus is overwhelmingly positive. We've rounded up the reviews of the MCU special so you have an idea of what to expect.


"Although Werewolf by Night is far bloodier than your usual Marvel flick, that’s not to say it becomes an all-out gore fest; quite the opposite. It’s far more tense than it has any right to be, with an incredible spooky atmosphere that uses old-school lighting techniques to recreate the tone of those early horror films. As you might expect from a composer-turned-director like Giacchino, the soundtrack is especially neat, using age-old horror strings and timpani drums to create a thoroughly familiar sound. All in all, it’s a classic horror lover’s dream – but that’s not to say it doesn’t have a few surprises, too."


"Unfolding across a zippy 53-minute run time, Werewolf by Night is more or less here to do what it says on the box: offer stylish throwback thrills that lean more kitschy than scary, set in an unexplored corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That it’s also presented differently from most other MCU ventures thus far goes a long way. Its closest sibling is WandaVision, but without the wider stakes that show eventually took on in addition to its homage. The fun is in relishing the love for old Universal monster movies that everyone involved clearly has, and not in the special’s MCU connections. Sharp-eyed viewers and Marvel scholars will find several allusions to comics lore, but nothing here is really meant to change the MCU status quo – just to let you know that hey, there are monsters here."


"The MVP of Werewolf by Night has to be the supernatural monster Man-Thing (no, not Swamp Thing, as seen on HBO Max’s Harley Quinn, though they must be long-lost cousins). It’s a brief, but enthralling, role with quality CGI, as some other animated characters, like the maligned design of She-Hulk, have recently gotten some bad press online. Man-Thing behaves like a monstrous Groot, with the same lovable, extra-large heart, and he steals the show (just be sure to call him by his real name)."

Den of Geek

"It’s the tight, standalone nature of Werewolf By Night that really hits different. Perhaps we will see these characters again in the MCU, but this special puts no emphasis on the need for it. Questions that arose before it began streaming, like “does this take place in the multiverse?”, "is this setting up Moon Knight Season 2?", or "will Elsa go on to bust Black Knight’s balls in the Blade reboot?" seem beside the point. As they should be! It’s fun to have spent time in this world, but part of Phase Four’s problem has been an often-misplaced fixation on "what’s next?" and less focus on delivering a viewing experience that stays with you."

Rolling Stone

"Unlike the comics, Werewolf isn’t attempting to appeal to an underserved demographic or take advantage of the "new freedoms" that hit the Comics Code way back in the day. You can find horror everywhere. You can also find superhero stories everywhere now as well, however, at the expense of a lot of other types of movies/TV shows/entertainment/content, which is what makes this offshoot all the more welcome. If it’s indeed a Marvel world and we’re all just living in it for better or worse, we could use more creative distractions from mondo world-building like this. Just drop them more than once every full moon, please."

Werewolf by Night is available to stream now on Disney Plus. If you've already seen the Halloween special, get the lowdown on the future of the MCU with our guides to Marvel Phase 5 and Marvel Phase 6.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.