Teen Wolf The Movie review: It’ll have you howling, but not always in a good way

teen wolf the movieParamount+

Teen Wolf: The Movie is a film that clearly cares about its previous show, but you may find it hard to care about the film.

Teen Wolf, the hit supernatural YA series from the early 2010s, went out with somewhat of a whimper in the late 2010s with its 100th episode. It was a shame that the series ended on such a low note, but now a new project is here.

From MTV and Jeff Davis, the same creative team of the series, comes a new horror-esque movie wthathich is set a few years after the events of the show. The official plot is as thus: “A full moon rises in Beacon Hills, and with it a terrifying evil has emerged… only a werewolf like Scott McCall, no longer a teenager yet still an Alpha, can gather both new allies and reunite trusted friends to fight back against what could be the most powerful and deadliest enemy they’ve ever faced.”

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As a major fan of the show back in the day, I was both excited and cautious for the film, due to the lacklustre direction that the series went in. But does the film continue that downward spiral, or does it bite new life into the franchise?

The Pack is back in Teen Wolf

Firstly, just to say that we will be avoiding any major spoilers in the film, so don’t worry about that. However, this film may cause you worry anyway, due to its proposed plot. The Nogitsune and Allison (Crystal Reed) are back, which spells danger for our lead Scott (Tyler Posey), and potentially the plot.

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Teen Wolf, while not afraid to kill off characters, was also not afraid of bringing them back, which generally rendered their death scenes a bit meaningless. It was only natural for fans to be concerned about Allison, and we won’t spoil what her – potentially polarising – plotline really entails. but as a fan it was nice to see her back, especially as something intriguing is done with her character.

Though you’ll be upset to find that neither Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) nor Kira (Arden Cho) are in this movie, despite being major characters of the show – and despite both actors being offered roles. There is another character added in, Hikari Zhang (Amy Lin Workman), but it’s pretty clear that she is meant to be a Kira substitute, as she is a Kitsune that wields a sword and later saves Scott’s life, despite neither of them really interacting with one another beforehand.

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You notice this lack of interaction between certain characters, despite being told in the film how much they all care for one another. Liam (Dylan Sprayberry) and Mason (Khylin Rhambo) hardly speak to each another, despite being best friends in the show.

The relationships between the characters can feel like the Avengers – quippy, but lacking real heart. When one character is lost, the weight of the moment isn’t nearly as impactful as it should be. Something in general just kind of feels off about the cast’s whole vibe, then again it did also feel like that at the end of the show. Or maybe it’s due to the iconic opening credits of the show not being present in the film.

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But there are still plenty of moments that will have you feeling nostalgic for the series. Factors such as the Nemeton, Beacon Hills High, Stile’s Jeep, and Coach (Orny Adams) still working at the school – he even mentions Greenberg. Characters are still easily manipulated, plots are still convoluted, but there is still that sense of fun.

Lydia (Holland Roden) goes through many of the same situations as she did in the show; struggling with her powers, being made to suffer, though she does get a climax to her arc that feels nicely cathartic. Her, Scott, Derek (Tyler Hoechlin), and Allison all get satisfying arcs, which feels like a nod to the OG cast of the show.

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The franchise is now “Adult-aged Wolf”

Something that sets the film apart is just how more adult it is. They all have jobs, Derek has a son – which was certainly a surprising plotline – and Scott is even thinking about kids. His relationship with Malia (Shelly Henning) has ended, which you likely won’t care about. He’s still working with and being taught new words by Deaton (Seth Gilliam), though now he’s past 30 it’s more comical watching Scott be so blissfully unaware all the time.

But now that the characters are adults, the film isn’t afraid to fully show them nude. While it’s nice that they didn’t go this far when the characters were minors – unlike some other teen shows – seeing one character grab another’s…ahem…wolfsbane was never anything we wanted to see in Teen Wolf.

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At least the addition of swearing is used to decent affect, and the extra brutality of certain deaths in the film help elevate it overall.

In Teen Wolf, there is no denying the sun, the moon and the truth. And the truth is that Teen Wolf’s technical aspects aren’t great

Supernatural YA shows were never really known for their good effects. That was almost part of their charm, and Teen Wolf was no different.

While the movie clearly puts its larger budget to good use, with bigger and better sets, that cheesy charm of bad technical aspects is still there. The action is silly wire work mixed with slow motion, and the CGI has always been poor. For the most part it’s bearable, but a scene in which two characters fight on a cliff is laughably bad.

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Laughter is perhaps needed, as while humor was what set the show apart from its supernatural contemporaries, it is sadly lacking in the film. You really feel the loss of Dylan O’Brien’s comedic chops; Shelly Henning is trying her best but she is unable to pull it off equally. Coach is able to bring a smile, but it was only one line by Eli Hale (Vince Mattis) that legitimately brought a laugh.

What will make you laugh is the twist villain, which we won’t spoil, but prepare to say, “Really? This guy?” unless you haven’t binged the show in a while, in which case prepare to say, “Huh? Who is this guy?”

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Teen Wolf: The Movie review score – 2/5

Teen Wolf: The Movie gives you some of what you want, and some of what you expect. For fans of the show, the fun outweighed the flaws, and the same can be said of the movie.

Ultimately, if you were a big fan of the show, definitely give this a watch. But if not, just watch the 1985 Michael J. Fox Teen Wolf movie instead.

Teen Wolf: The Movie will premiere on Paramount Plus on January 26, 2023. To find out what time it drops, check out our guide here.