Marvel's Werewolf by Night hailed as a 'surprisingly violent' MCU monster mash

Gael García Bernal's Jack Russell stares at someone off camera in a black and white image from Marvel Studios' Werewolf by Night
Critics have been giving their initial Werewolf by Night reactions online. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The first reactions for Marvel's Werewolf by Night have started dropping online – and critics are calling it an "instant classic" that could take the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 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 D23 Expo, has been positioned as Marvel's first-real horror production. And, based on what critics have been saying since the social embargo lifted, Werewolf by Night is as violent and surreal as many fans hope it'll be.

Werewolf by Night is the Marvel's first attempt at making a so-called Special Presentation – i.e. a one-off TV special that, like Moon Knight, fits into the wider world of the MCU but also exists as a standalone property. Given the more mature content that Moon Knight contained and the new avenues it opened up in Marvel's juggernaut franchise, it won't come as a huge surprise to see critics comparing the two, either.'s James Viscardi was one such journalist to pick up on the similarities between the duo, calling Werewolf by Night "surprisingly violent" and "an instant classic and immediately rewatchable":

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Fandom's Eric Goldman said Werewolf by Night was an "exciting example of how they [Marvel] can push boundaries", adding its monochromatic aesthetic "works perfectly for the story and feels so unique in the MCU":

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SlashFilm reporter Rafael Motamayor described the TV special as the "Marvel Studios Monster Mash you've been waiting for", before stating how director Michael Giacchino's vision helped Werewolf by Night to bear the hallmarks of classic Universal monster flicks:

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Others were quick to praise the TV special's cast, with The Movie Podcast's Anthony Gagliardi calling lead star Gael García Bernal "fantastic" and key supporting actor Laura Donnelly "bad ass":

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Meanwhile, MCU insider BigScreenLeaks was one of a few critics to pick out Man-Thing, another monster set to feature in Werewolf by Night, as a potential "fan favorite" in this "campy" horror-style Marvel project:

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Collider's Rob Keyes was a little less enthusiastic about the special's supporting cast, saying they "are not on the same level" as other MCU Disney Plus shows. However, he called it a "thrilling Halloween special" that offers an insight into how Marvel Studios can grow the more supernatural/monster side of the MCU:

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Lastly, Gizmodo scribe Germain Lussier called Werewolf by Night a "love letter to old school monster movies" that tells a captivating story within its 60-minute runtime:

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While it's fantastic to hear about how good Werewolf by Night is, it should be said that these are only a small selection of critical verdicts. There are likely to be more ahead of the TV special's release early next month, including reviews that aren't as positive.

Still, Werewolf by Night sounds like it'll be for a gratuitously violent and spooky seasonal watch when it lands on Disney Plus soon. Here's hoping that these early reactions are a sign of how spectacularly scary it'll be and ultimately not wind up being divisive like other 2022 MCU projects, such as Thor: Love and Thunder or another horror-style superhero flick in Doctor Strange 2.

For more MCU-based content, check out our Marvel movies in order 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.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.