Review: ‘Teen Wolf: The Movie’ on Paramount+

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I remember being obsessed with Teen Wolf on MTV as a young adult. It wasn’t until the show was well into its third season that one of my best friends turned it on and I found myself hooked instantaneously into the clawed hands of the pack. The adventures of newly created werewolf Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) and his friends were a darker take on the 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox. Where the film went for laughter and levity, Teen Wolf the series went for something more in vein with Buffy or Charmed from the late 90s early 2000s. As a twenty-year-old, this was exactly the type of show I wanted and needed in my life.

And then one day, like all good things, Teen Wolf came to an end. After 100 episodes, viewers’ time in Beacon Hills was over, and it felt like it would be the last time we would see this pack again. However, Paramount+ and MTV had other plans, announcing Teen Wolf: The Movie for the streaming service. 

The newest installment is set to arrive at the end of this week, telling one more epic story with this lovable wolf pack. Written by Jeff Davis, showrunner of the series, and directed by Russell Mulcahy, director of films such as Resident Evil: Extinction, Teen Wolf: The Movie sees the returns of most of the original cast from the series, with a few additions and one noticeable absence. So after almost six years, is this return to Beacon Hills worth your time? Or will you be howling at the moon in frustration? Let’s see what this fan of the series thinks of Teen Wolf: The Movie.

[Warning: impressions and light spoilers from Teen Wolf: The Movie are below!]

Assembling the pack in Teen Wolf: The Movie

When the film begins, our beloved werewolves, friends, and supernatural beings are scattered to the wind. That isn’t to say they aren’t living fulfilling and happy lives, however, it does appear that it has been some time since they’ve seen each other. Teen Wolf: The Movie gives audiences a bit of time to join these characters in their current lives, serving as flashes of who they are as adults.

When I say a bit, I mean a trivial amount of time. It isn’t like we see much of these characters outside of Beacon Hills, but we get enough of a glimpse to gain a base understanding of how their lives turned out since we last saw them in the series.

It isn’t long before our characters end up back in Beacon Hills, with some of them, such as the adults from the series, never leaving. From that point on, Teen Wolf: The Movie plays out like a typical season of the show, however, condensed into a convenient, but rather long story. What brings them back to their hometown is the pleas of a friend, begging them to help once again. Although, their reasoning for returning is also personal to each and every one of them, upping the stakes for coming back and figuring out the mystery.

Teen Wolf: The Movie. Scott McCall
Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) in Werewolf form. Teen Wolf: The Movie (Paramount+).

The mystery is personal for these characters in the beginning, however, in true Teen Wolf fashion, turns towards the supernatural. In this case, a world-ending supernatural creature who is as terrifying as it is menacing. This creature is resolved in his mission and isn’t afraid to do what he needs to achieve it, using our heroes’ past against them, and bringing back familiar faces and baddies from the show’s history.

The good and the bad of this new Paramount+ movie

The story of Teen Wolf: The Movie was engaging, in that the story was about finding yourself once again. When we first see the wolf pack, they are separated and, as I said, it feels like they haven’t seen each other in a long time. Sure they are still a pack, but it seems like time hasn’t been kind to the group. Individually, these characters have lost parts of themselves over the years and throughout the film, they were able to become whole once again. 

Perhaps the most significant of these journeys were Lydia (Holland Roden) and Derek (Tyler Hoechiln). Among the huge ensemble cast, these two actors stood out above the rest. Lydia is exactly as I remember her, sarcastic, intelligent, and dedicated to her family. However, she also feels lost in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen her before. This film really allows Holland Roden to show once again that she is a force of nature when it comes to acting. If you liked Lydia before, you’re going to love her in this film and that is all thanks to Roden’s acting chops and the direction taken with her character.

Hoechiln’s Derek feels very different from his past self, however, the position we find him in during this film is much different as well. Funnily enough, he’s closer to Clark Kent in Teen Wolf: The Movie than the Derek Hale in my memory. His priorities are different, but there is still the snark that I associate with the character.

Derek’s journey in this film is one of the emotional cores, the driving factors from beginning to end. He has to protect that which he loves most and doing that creates excellent drama. As always, Hoechiln was fantastic in the role, confirming what everyone already knew, not only is he attractive, but he’s also talented.

Teen Wolf: The Movie Derek Hale
(L-R) Derek (Tyler Hoechiln) and Scott (Tyler Posey). Teen Wolf: The Movie (Paramount+).

The rest of the cast was also excellent, slipping back into these roles like slippers and pajamas. They felt comfortable with each other, with the old banter that I missed from the show. You could tell that they were all having fun making this movie.

That being said, the film felt much longer than it needed to be. I won’t lie, I slightly groaned at the two-and-a-half-hour run time prior to watching it. But the film itself felt like it could have used a bit of tightening up of the story. This could have eliminated probably close to half an hour. 

Teen Wolf: The Movie also felt like it was shoehorning some characters into the film just to have them in there, such as Colton Hayne’s Jackson. As much as I love seeing Haynes in literally anything I can, it didn’t feel like Jackson had the same type of journey or story as the others. Instead, he felt almost forgotten about, unless they needed a snarky comment or a roll of the eyes. 

The biggest missing piece of this film was Stiles, played by Dylan O’Brien. Stiles was Scott’s best friend and his right-hand man throughout this entire journey into Werewolf-ism. They do provide some hints as to his absence, but the lack of Stiles felt like a gigantic hole, one that they needed to complete the feel of Teen Wolf: The Movie.

Final thoughts on Teen Wolf: The Movie

Overall, I enjoyed this movie for what it was. Sure it was a little long, but it was nice to have another adventure with these beloved characters. I think the way it ended also left the door open for more, which if this film is a hit I think will definitely happen. I would love to see some more from Scott and the gang.

If you were a fan of the series, you should definitely check this out. Even if you’re not, you might enjoy the film. It had plenty of action, a bit of horror, and funny lines that made me laugh. So if you’re ready for something supernatural, this is the perfect film many or you to enjoy this weekend.

My rating for the film:

★★★★ / ♥♥♥♥

Teen Wolf: The Movie releases on January 26, only on Paramount+. Are you excited to watch it? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus discord. And if you haven’t already, check out our review of Such Sharp Teeth!

Book Review: Such Sharp Teeth: A Werewolf Novel by Rachel Harrison

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