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(Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was for a challenge or rebuttal to a famous saying, and “Nice guys finish last” is one that’s always annoyed me.)

“Nice guys finish last,” you say? I take offense at that.
For I take pride in being nice. It’s never fallen flat.
Good attitudes are rare enough to be of note these days,
To brighten someone else’s life, however brief the blaze.
The cruel may get ahead but likely not to paradise;
The hares can scoff and hasten off, but tortoises play nice.

I’ve never once lamented being nice to someone yet,
For what’s the opposite except immediate regret?
I’d rather be the person who can dry another’s tears
With just a smile or open door or pair of open ears.
The bad boys roll their eyes and think they’ll never pay a price.
Well, bless their hearts right off the charts, ‘cause dang it, I am nice!

MPA rating:  R (for language and violence)

While some like Ghostbusters are exceptions, horror comedy has never been a genre of interest to me since it so often relies on gore for comedic effect, finding humor in shock value, which isn’t my cup of tea. Yet the premise of Werewolves Within caught my attention, since I love the “one-of-us-does-not-belong” style of mystery, even if I’ve never played the video game on which the film is very loosely based. (On Rotten Tomatoes, it’s now the highest-rated film based on a video game.) Set in the notoriously quirky mountains of Vermont, the film features an array of colorful characters, including jovial new forest ranger Finn (Sam Richardson), likable mail carrier Cecily (Milana Vayntrub, a.k.a. Lily from the AT&T commercials), environmentalist Dr. Ellis (Rebecca Henderson), and many more, all snowed in together as a murderer seems to be picking them off one by one.

From the visiting oil man trying to lay a pipeline to the wealthy gay couple to the unstable woman obsessed with her lap dog, there is no shortage of suspects, some of which could have used more character development beyond their quirks, and no one can be entirely dismissed as the culprit when a dead body is discovered. Despite the title, there’s even lasting doubt about whether the werewolf is a possibility at all. Through it all, Sam Richardson’s Finn is especially a joy, displaying and advocating for a folksy niceness that even makes him reluctant to swear while the rest of the cast are in panic mode. He and Vayntrub are an endearing pair amid all the doubt and chaos, even though they remain suspects as well. Werewolves Within has the feel of an instant cult classic, sort of the werewolf counterpart to The Lost Boys, managing decently campy scares alongside endearingly eccentric humor. Despite some R-rated content, it was one horror comedy I enjoyed immensely.

Best line: (Finn Wheeler) “Well, we’re having a good old-fashioned sleepover.”
(Marcus) “With guns, though.”
(Finn) “With guns, yes.”

Rank: List Runner-Up

© 2022 S.G. Liput
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