Teen Wolf: The Movie, another failed Hollywood remake

By Shannon Garrido, Editor-in-chief

In the age of reboots and remakes, Hollywood’s latest victim is none other than MTV’s classic “Teen Wolf,” which has already been revived twice: both as a movie and a spin-off tv series. 

Written by Jeff Davis—who developed the original show—”Teen Wolf: The Movie” takes place in the fictional Beacon Hills, Calif. just 15 years after the end of the series. But unlike many remakes that ruin a once-beloved piece of media by using a fresh new cast, this one retains most of its original cast members.  

However, we couldn’t expect this revival to be any different. “Teen Wolf: The Movie” is a coy and unnecessary reunion of the original cast for a low-stakes, boring, and terribly produced drama. And the absence of Dylan O’Brien and Arden Cho is the nail in the coffin. 

A character that really popularized the show was Stiles Stilinski, played by man of the millennium O’Brien, who served as comic relief and was without any supernatural abilities. Soon after the pilot, he became a fan favorite, and his presence was crucial to every mystery. 

His absence in this reboot sparked controversy on social media, and as a fan I understood. For the majority of the show, I wasn’t attached to many characters and was more involved in the actual events. However, Stiles provided a human element to the show that made dialogue and the introduction of new characters exciting. O’Brien’s refusal to join his old cast mates has been explained away by him and his team as a scheduling issue. 

And after Cho passed on joining Paramount+’s revival movie after learning that she was offered far less money than her white and/or male co-stars, O’Brien liked a tweet in support of Cho, leading fans to believe that was the reason for his absence. 

Cho’s absence in the movie also came as a huge disappointment. Not only because the disrespect she received from the network was deplorable, but because her character represents the show’s golden age. It is quite obvious that the showrunners had no intention of diversifying the show after they dropped her before its sixth season. In a YouTube video, Cho explained that her character was written out because the writers wanted to “focus on other characters instead,” which is bullshit. The new characters after her were laughably forgettable and no main characters of color were introduced after her.  

The 2010s shows that occupied the minds of teenagers during the 2010s have a concerning history of racist, sexist, and homophobic depictions. Unfortunately, they were heavily consumed and can gladly be rewatched critically today. 

Cho’s Asian heritage was convenient for the show’s plot and made for its most successful season, yet she still did not receive the respect she is entitled to during her initial dismissal, and now during its revival. It’s this lack of consideration for their cast of color that makes stories that appropriate culture—and do so embarrassingly—even more staggering. After such a stone-cold disrespectful reboot, it’s only fair the movie receives a staggering amount of bad reviews, including being called “Its Own Worst Enemy” by The Rolling Stones. 

The movie starts with a familiar face: main character Scott McCall, played by Tyler Posey. We find ourselves delving back into the plot of the original show’s third season—arguably the best season. In the original, we are introduced to Kira Yukimura, played by Cho, whose family history traces back to a Japanese internment camp in Ssouthern California during the Second World War. We also meet McCall’s childhood best friend, Stiles Stilinski, who is possessed by the Nogitsune—an evil spirit revived to avenge those lost at the camp.  

Season 3’s storyline was the only instance where the show strayed away from a campy supernatural drama, and the audience was given a real suspense-filled horror. It was excellent, and what made it so compelling was the connection between Kira’s family and Stiles’ possession-induced identity crisis. The audience’s coming to terms with Stiles not being who we thought he was is heartbreaking. Cho and O’Brien were some of the most compelling actors amongst the cast. 

During the new movie, director Davis revives the once dormant Nogitsune to haunt the main cast by bringing Allison Argent, played by Crystal Reed, back from the dead.  

I can’t take this film seriously. 

Although life/death can have some wiggle room in the supernatural genre, I know for a fact that dead people stay dead in the “Teen Wolf” cinematic universe. Allison’s revival feels unnatural because it breaks all the rules: reviving an old character just for the sake of drama directly contradicts the worldbuilding that made the show so good in the first place. 

Immediately all the conflict—such as Allison being brought back to life and trying to kill everyone, or the Nogitsune chasing down every supernatural character—is dropped. We are introduced to too many plot points,; including but not limited to, uninteresting romances, Derek Hale—played by Tyler Hoechlin—struggling to connect with his son, and a homicidal ex-science teacher. 

Yet none of them actually tie together to the supposed villain: the Nogitsune. 

What made the original Nogitsune arc so compelling was that it forced the audience to abandon what they thought they knew. The Nogitsune is a spirit that feeds on “chaos, pain, and strife.” After two and a half seasons of high schoolers fighting off monsters between first and second period, the Nogitsune was able to infiltrate their lives because they had so much chaos to feed from. Even more interesting is that it did so through the body of the character we expected the least:, Stiles.

While everyone is trying to kill this demon, they can’t accept that they might have to sacrifice their best friend to do so. As a pre-pubescent Tumblr user, it truly felt like the stakes were high. O’Brien’s performance became Hollywood’s first real look into an actor that could stray away from the teen drama genre. Not to mention Cho’s role in deciphering her family heritage was the only way to resolve this plot line. 

Is it possible to revive this mythos of an hour-long movie, without Cho and O’Brien’s characters? The answer is no. 

The movie jumps from plot points so much, the audience has no time to get invested in one. It was clear from the beginning that Derek’s relationship with his kid was not going to affect the ending. Scott trying to convince his once-dead ex-girlfriend Allison not to kill him is not relevant to the Nogitsune storyline. The only thing these lines have in common is that the Nogitsune is back and so is Allison, and therefore we should care. I, fortunately, did not. 

During its original conception in the show, the Nogitsune was a trickster. For example, at one point the gang is running away from the Nogitsune at the school (where all murderous events in the show occurred) and as they open the doors they are suddenly outside in a snow-covered garden. The Nogitsune and the Oni—supernatural demonic warriors (sure)—surround them, and there doesn’t seem to be a way out of this hellscape unless they figure out the trick. Eventually, Stiles figures out that they have to walk by the Oni—who slash them with katana swords as they bleed out—in order to end up right where they started, the school. 

Those scenes—though mediocre in production—properly escalated the stakes and engaged viewers. In this movie adaptation, the Nogitsune tries to trick them with such comedic frequency, via poor use of green screen and our characters quickly make it out unscathed. There was no riddle, no actual detective work needed. The only sacrifice is Derek Hale, who unfortunately hadn’t seen a single storyline since season one. 

However, visible green screens, subpar acting, unnecessary butt nudity, and weird plot holes aside—what was missing from this film was Cho and O’Brien. 

It’s no secret that in every aspect of production, Hollywood needs to do better. Let’s abandon the lazy trend of remaking shows for  a cheap audience and be original. Stop commodifying nostalgia, let by-gones be by-gones.