TIFF 2020: Rules for Werewolves (Jeremy Schaulin-Roux, Canada)

By Adam Nayman

Having not read Kirk Lynn’s 2015 novel about a feral cult of squatters, I can’t say if Rules for Werewolves qualifies as a proper adaptation or a literary riff in miniature: the snaky long take narrating the desecration of a sprawling but sterile suburban mansion unfolds in sync to the author’s ramblingly poetic prose, narrated by Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard as some kind of unprepossessing teen Svengali with a thing for archangels. Anyway, it all sounds ominous over images of youth in insular revolt: sex, guns, samurai swords, the works. Show-offy stuff, but there’s something to be said for the kind of lively pulp energy at work here, and while the short is ultimately just a teaser for director Jeremy Schaulin-Roux’s upcoming, full-length attempt at a film version, it’s got a menacing compression that justifies stand-alone status.