I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but as I’m the person keeping the proverbial lights on here at Werewolf News, I hereby resolve to watch and review more werewolf movies in the coming year. That would be a breeze if they were all 40 minutes long like Mazey Day, an episode from the latest season of Netflix’s Black Mirror which is — spoiler alert — about a werewolf. (I see no reason to be coy about something I’m reviewing for this site.)
While Mazey Day strays far from what a Black Mirror typically entails, as a werewolf story it gets the job done, and in an efficient manner I appreciate. It does take its time getting to the werewolfery, though, establishing protagonist Bo (Zazie Beetz, having her second brush with lycanthropy after 2018’s Slice) as a Los Angeles-based paparazzo who begins questioning her life choices when a television actor she caught in a compromising position kills himself. “You can’t handle the consequences, don’t enter the game,” says one of her more callous colleagues, and her response is to hang up her camera and get a job as a barista.
With the prelims out of the way, the story picks up in the Czech Republic, where hot actress Mazey Day (Clara Rugaard) is filming a costume thing. One night, while high on mushrooms, she goes for a drive and hits something in the road, but it isn’t revealed right away what happened when she got out of the car to investigate. When she begins acting erratically on set and is sent packing, she goes into hiding, which sends the tabloids into a feeding frenzy that drags Bo back into the game when a quick $30K payday is dangled in front of her. What she and her fellow “photojournalists” find when they track Mazey down to the isolated rehab facility where she’s waiting out the three nights of the full moon, however, is, well, you know, she’s a werewolf. And she’s hungry.
Series writer Charlie Brooker uses lycanthropy as a metaphor for addiction, but setting the story in 2006 (established by an entertainment news report about the birth of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s daughter Suri) mostly seems like an excuse to have Bo use a dial-up connection and call an iPod her “new toy.” The year also brings to mind the dodgy CGI transformations that became de rigueur in werewolf films around that time, but the effects in Mazey Day are decent enough. The choice to use a suit performer for some of them definitely goes a long way.