The Film’ Can’t Make Up for Dylan O’Brien’s Absence

Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Paramount+

Photograph Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Each day Beast/Paramount+

The large success of the Twilight saga within the late 2000s and early 2010s birthed a whole trade of fantasy content material that includes sultry vampires and shirtless werewolves. Considered one of its hottest descendants was the MTV sequence Teen Wolf, which is technically a reboot of the 1985 comedy movie starring Michael J. Fox, however is extra intently associated to the mysterious, foggy (so a lot fog), and erotic world of Twilight mastermind Stephanie Meyer.

The present arrived in 2011, when MTV was attempting (and sometimes failing) to ascertain itself as a vacation spot for scripted tv about younger folks, with sequence just like the critically acclaimed Awkward., The Arduous Occasions of RJ Berger, and the controversial Skins remake. However Teen Wolf, presumably due to a built-in sci-fi/fantasy fanbase, sunk its tooth into the general public in a means none of its community friends might. The present’s male leads, Tyler Posey and Dylan O’Brien—who performed Scott McCall and Stiles Stilinski, respectively—turned worldwide teen heartthrobs (O’Brien continues to be a top-tier internet boyfriend), and the present turned a huge facet of Tumblr, offering a lot of the positioning’s wildly in style fan fiction.

After 100 episodes and almost six years off the air, Teen Wolf is formally again with a feature-length movie premiering on Paramount+ this Thursday. The present’s creator and author, Jeff Davis, brings again among the sequence’ most fearsome unhealthy guys for a ultimate—however who could be certain?—battle between Beacon Hill’s good and evil supernatural communities. The movie additionally resuscitates werewolf hunter and Scott’s love curiosity Allison Argent (Crystal Reed), whose sudden demise in Season 3—a lot within the vein of The O.C. killing off Marissa Cooper—despatched shockwaves via the fan group.

Sadly, Allison’s resurrection can’t make up for the absence of Teen Wolf’s No. 1 MVP, Stiles. Not solely did O’Brien’s character present comedian aid (and eye sweet) as Scott’s guileless sidekick, however he grew into an more and more layered, integral character because the sequence went on. Increasing the Teen Wolf universe with out him is kind of like making a Sex and the City reboot without Samantha or an O.C. film with out Seth Cohen. Certain, you possibly can attempt your finest to fill in these gaps with different storylines and new characters, however audiences will at all times be left slightly dissatisfied.

I felt equally watching Teen Wolf: The Film, which facilities round Allison’s difficult reemergence. Set 15 years after we final noticed the gang, the film opens with Scott, Allison’s finest pal Lydia Martin (Holland Roden), and her father, Chris (JR Bourne), receiving cryptic messages alluding to Allison’s life. After gathering clues and wielding their magical talents, they’re capable of resuscitate her from a state of limbo (or “bardo”). Sadly, Allison has misplaced all of her reminiscence, minus the handy data that she hunts werewolves. It’s additionally unclear whether or not the resurrected Allison is an phantasm, particularly a vessel for the present’s ugliest villain, the Nogitsune, who has a ruthless urge for food for ache and chaos.

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In the meantime, the Beacon Hills police, a brand new ally named Hikari (Amy Workman), and a slew of supporting characters (Colton Haynes’ Jackson Whittemore, Shelley Hennig’s Malia Tate, and, after all, Tyler Hoechlin’s Derek Hale) try to find an unknown arsonist, seemingly in connection to the Nogitsune. Moreover, they’re avoiding a gaggle of masked fighters generally known as the Oni (who’ve at all times regarded an excessive amount of like The Jabbawockeez to be taken severely) as they mercilessly slaughter civilians on the Nogitsune’s behalf.

The factor in regards to the Teen Wolf sequence—and numerous sci-fi entities—is that beneath the onslaught of legendary creatures, enemies, and supernatural legal guidelines, there’s solely an especially fundamental mission. Sadly, within the case of Teen Wolf: The Film, the movie’s mysteries aren’t labyrinthine sufficient—nor are the numerous motion scenes compelling sufficient—to hold a movie that’s over two hours lengthy.

Moreover, the film is so plot-heavy that viewers don’t get a possibility to take a seat with the characters they invested six years in or study a lot about their present lives. The closest we get to a gripping emotional thread is the connection between Derek and his 15-year-old son Eli, who has but to inherit his werewolf talents; to his credit score, Hoechlin continues to be a convincingly endearing father determine.

Sadly, this revival feels much less like a capital-M film or an “occasion” and extra like a typical episode of Teen Wolf, solely with an added hour. Traditionally, film spinoffs of cable sequence have been restricted by these creative constraints. Nevertheless, because the strains between film- and television-making have grow to be extra blurred—for higher or worse—it’s unusual that Teen Wolf: The Film isn’t splashier or produced on a bigger scale than the unique present. The motion, arguably probably the most disengaging a part of the sequence, continues to be lackluster. The particular results are nonetheless laughable. The dialogue is sort of solely simple exposition. And the decision is just too neat.

This might very properly be precisely what some followers need, as Teen Wolf has by no means actually ventured outdoors of its formulaic field. And with a revival, which is finally an act of fan service, doing extra is definitely a threat. Nonetheless, I’d argue that centering a reboot round a personality who viewers weren’t actually requested to consider for the latter half of the sequence (and who seems largely as a cypher within the film) is an enormous swing.

General, this specific revival is lacking one thing that makes it really feel genuinely particular and worthy of a comeback, except for MTV’s dwindling relevance. That factor might be Dylan O’Brien.

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