Werewolf (2016 film)

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Werewolf 2016 film poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Ashley McKenzie
Produced by
  • Nelson MacDonald
  • Ashley McKenzie
Written by Ashley McKenzie
Starring Andrew Gillis
Bhreagh MacNeil
Music by Youth Haunts
Cinematography Scott Moore
Edited by Ashley McKenzie
Grassfire Films
Distributed by La Distributrice de films
Release date
  • 9 September 2016 (2016-09-09) (TIFF)
Running time
79 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

Werewolf is a 2016 Canadian drama film directed by Ashley McKenzie.[1] It marks McKenzie's feature film directorial debut. The film premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival,[2] and subsequently received numerous accolades, including several Canadian Screen Award nominations,[3] and the $100,000 Toronto Film Critics Association prize for best Canadian film of the year in 2017.[4]


Werewolf centres on Blaise (Andrew Gillis) and Vanessa (Bhreagh MacNeil), two drug addicts living in New Waterford, Nova Scotia.[5]


The film was shot on Cape Breton Island for 26 days,[6] and was funded through various government grants, including from Telefilm Canada.[7]

The story was inspired by a real-life couple in New Waterford; McKenzie learned they were referred to as "the lawnmower crackheads" because they went from house to house offering to mow people's lawns.[8]


After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, Werewolf went on to screen at festivals across Canada including the Vancouver International Film Festival and Festival du nouveau cinema. Its international premiere was at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.[9] The film was released theatrically across Canada in 2017.[10]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10.[11] Metacritic gave the film a score of 73 out of 100 based on 9 critical reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12]

The Hollywood Reporter called it a "cruel story of Canadian youth".[13] Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail gave the film a four star review and called it "one of the summer's best movies."[14] Chris Knight of The National Post gave the film a three and a half star review and called it "an assured piece of storytelling."[15] In an article called "A Generational Shift in Filmmaking", Richard Brody of The New Yorker said "McKenzie fuses a documentary-like observational precision with a creative imagination that endows her characters' struggles with a quietly monumental grandeur."[16]

In less enthusiastic reviews, Linda Barnard of the Toronto Star said that "McKenzie has effectively drawn us in, although lack of narrative makes the film frustratingly slow in spots,"[17] and Joe Leydon of Variety wrote that "the familiarity and predictability of its scenario about co-dependency in the lower depths make the relatively short Canadian indie seem longer than it is."[18]


At the 2016 Atlantic Film Festival, Werewolf won several awards, including Best Director (McKenzie), Best Actress (MacNeil), and Best Actor (Gillis).[19] On 16 October 2016, the film won the Focus Canada Grand Prize at the Festival du nouveau cinema in Montreal.[20] On 7 December 2016, the film was named to TIFF's annual "Canada's Top 10" list.[21] At the 5th Canadian Screen Awards, the film received nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.[3]

In 2017, Werewolf won the $100,000 Toronto Film Critics Association prize for best Canadian film of the year.[4]

Awards Category Recipients and nominees Result
Atlantic Film Festival[19] Best Director Ashley McKenzie Won
Best Actress Bhreagh MacNeil Won
Canadian Screen Awards[22] Best Actor Andrew Gillis Nominated
Best Actress Bhreagh MacNeil Nominated
Best Cinematography Scott Moore Nominated
Best Editing Ashley McKenzie Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle[23] Best First Film by a Canadian Director Ashley McKenzie Won
Best Actress in a Canadian Film Bhreagh MacNeil Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Canadian Film Ashley McKenzie

Nelson MacDonald



  1. ^ "'Werewolf' Exclusive Clip: Two Methadone Addicts Struggle With Isolation In Small Town". IndieWire. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Werewolf at TIFF". TIFF. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Orphan Black, Schitt's Creek, Kim's Convenience up for Canadian Screen Awards". CBC News. 17 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b Doherty, Brennan (9 January 2018). "Werewolf wins big at Toronto Film Critics awards". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Cape Breton feature Werewolf to premiere at TIFF". The Coast, 3 August 2016.
  6. ^ "World premiere for Cape Breton film this week at TIFF | Cape Breton Post". www.capebretonpost.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  7. ^ "NSI-nominated project from Ashley McKenzie, Nelson MacDonald selected for Telefilm's micro-budget program | National Screen Institute - Canada (NSI)". National Screen Institute - Canada (NSI). 16 June 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Introducing the fearless Ashley McKenzie". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Berlinale | Archive | Annual Archives | 2017 | Programme - Werewolf". www.berlinale.de. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  10. ^ Wilner, Norman (1 June 2017). "Werewolf is one of the best Canadian films you'll see this year". NOW Magazine. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Werewolf (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Werewolf Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  13. ^ "'Werewolf': Film Review | Berlin 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Review: Werewolf is one of the summer's best movies". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Ashley McKenzie's Werewolf is 'an assured piece of storytelling'". National Post. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  16. ^ Brody, Richard (9 May 2017). "A Generational Shift in Independent Filmmaking, at the 2017 Maryland Film Festival". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  17. ^ DeMara, Bruce; Barnard, Linda; Howell, Peter (1 June 2017). "Reel Brief: Mini reviews of Graduation, Tanna, Werewolf, Score, Drone". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  18. ^ Leydon, Joe (21 September 2016). "Film Review: 'Werewolf'". Variety. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Cape Breton film 'Werewolf' a howling success at Atlantic Film Festival". Cape Breton Post. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Prizes and Awards - 45th edition". Festival du nouveau cinéma. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  21. ^ "'Telling stories that show Canadians who we are:' TIFF unveils top 10 Canadian films of 2016". CBC News. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  22. ^ Furdyk, Brent (17 January 2017). "2017 Canadian Screen Awards nominees revealed". Global News. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Hello Destroyer Named Best Canadian Film by VFCC". Vancouver Film Critics Circle. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017.

External links[edit]