Teen Wolf: The Movie Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Curtis Bonds Baker/MTV Entertainment

"We have heard many tales about teenage werewolves, there always seems to be a new one." 

This statement is made by Dr. Conrad Fenris, an expert on lycanthropy and the director of Eichen House, a supernatural prison/insane asylum located in the mysterious town of Beacon Hills, which is home to many supernatural creatures, villains, heroes, and at one point, a teen wolf. 

However, in attempting to create a new story about a teenage werewolf, the movie Teen Wolf fails to develop the characters it already has and creates a chaotic plot.

The movie Teen Wolf: The Movie, which is premiering on January 26th on Paramount+, is based on the controversial MTV series from 2011. In this movie, the main character Scott McCall (played by Tyler Posey) is no longer a teenager, but he still struggles with feelings of loneliness. When a dangerous enemy with a familiar appearance appears, Scott must enlist the help of his pack and hope that their combined power is enough to save the town of Beacon Hills.

The movie features a cast of familiar faces, including Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Tyler Hoechlin, Holland Roden, Colton Haynes and more. The movie is a reunion of sorts, as the characters are forced to revisit their old high school haunts. However, creator Jeff Davis relies heavily on familiar faces and callbacks, which cannot fully justify the film's existence, especially when it comes at the expense of its most dedicated fans.

Teen Wolf, a TV show, was never considered great by critics. When it first aired, it was criticized for having little connection to the original 1985 film and for having unrealistic plotlines. However, the show became popular among teenagers who watched MTV because of its strong focus on teenage sexuality.

The cast was made up of young adults in a school setting with a lot of kissing and shirtless scenes. The show also benefited from the popularity of supernatural themed shows such as Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. 

Additionally, the rise of the blogging site Tumblr helped to promote the show, particularly a popular ship involving the characters Derek Hale and Stiles Stilinski. This helped the show to gain a dedicated fan base that kept it on the air for six seasons and 100 episodes. 

Teen Wolf helped to launch the careers of actors Tyler Hoechlin and Dylan O'Brien, but its popularity dropped during its fifth season. This was partly due to the show's tendency to introduce and then discard popular characters who were from marginalized communities, such as queer characters and characters of color. One example of this is the character Kira Yukimura, played by Arden Cho, who was the first woman of color to have a lead role on the show. 

However, she was removed from the cast before the final season, which upset many fans. This controversy resurfaced in May 2022, when Cho revealed that she was offered less pay than her white, female co-stars when offered a role in Teen Wolf: The Movie.

"I could easily think of more than ten Asian American actors who were paid less than their non-Asian counterparts," Cho stated. "I turned down the offer not just for myself, but because I hope for more equality in the future."

Dylan O'Brien is not part of the spin-off film and he mentioned that it was due to scheduling conflicts and a desire to move on from the past. Although Arden Cho is not mentioned in the film and O'Brien's character's jeep is given more importance, the movie still includes the villains and storylines associated with their characters which makes their absence more prominent.

Tyler Posey's performance is satisfactory and Hoechlin continues to excel as a father figure, but the only one who seems to understand the show's comedic potential is Colton Haynes, leaving the rest of the cast struggling to make the script, which is fundamentally not serious, appear legitimate.

MTV's Teen Wolf, once referred to as "perfectly reverse-engineered for Tumblr" by Teen Vogue, was known for its supernatural content and heavy focus on teenage sexuality. Unfortunately, the same issues that led to the show's end are present in the spin-off movie, Teen Wolf: The Movie.

The movie fails to capture the campy and entertaining aspects of the show and lacks the presence of Dylan O'Brien, Arden Cho or any acknowledgement of the fanbase that made Teen Wolf successful. Without these elements, the movie version of the hit series feels like a poorly attended high school reunion: uncomfortable to watch and a waste of time. 

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