‘Love, Death + Robots’ Episode 10 Review: “Shape-Shifters” Howl at the Moon

3.5

Summary

“Shape-Shifters” does or says nothing new in the world of war, politics, and werewolves but it is nonetheless an enjoyably fierce take on combining fantasy with the factual.

Love, Death + Robots is a Netflix Anthology series created by Tim Miller and David Fincher. Here is the review for Episode 10, “Shape-Shifters”, which will contain spoilers. You can read the spoiler-free review of the entire series by clicking these words. You can check out our archive for reviews of each episode by clicking these words.


Photorealist animation of individual facial hairs and sweating pores, and an apparent real-world Afghanistan war-zone introduce “Shape-Shifters” as grounded and gritty (in the contemporary sense of the word). That is until the bullets crack from the heat-distorted distance at a barefooted Decker and his unit. His blue eyes blink black and orange and he begins to sniff at the air to pick out the shooter in one of the many war-torn buildings.

Back at base, Decker and his best bud feel the patriotic prejudice against them being ‘dog soldiers’ even though they all fly the infamous stars and stripes. The politics of alienation and ‘othering’ underscore this pulpy speculative fiction. What if the army had genetically superior werewolves? Then, what if one of those werewolves went rogue, leaving an allied trench full of gnarled bones and viscera like the leftovers of an assorted meat platter? “Shape-Shifters” wants to answer those pressing questions.

When Decker finds the culprit, ugly transmogrifications all-round as skin tears, bones crack and mouths morph into snarling snouts. It’s not only the look of the transformation that takes its queue from An American Werewolf in London but the sound design too, which perfectly captures the horror in this violent act of self-harm. The fight that ensues feels similar to the other beastly battle in “Sonnie’s Edge” but this one is somehow more unashamedly brutal.

“Shape-Shifters” does or says nothing new in the world of war, politics, and werewolves but it is nonetheless an enjoyably fierce take on combining fantasy with the factual.

Aaron Farrell.

Aaron studies Creative and Professional Writing at Bangor University and is Film Critic for Ready Steady Cut and Nation. He is also a Young Critic for the Arts Council of Wales.

One thought on “‘Love, Death + Robots’ Episode 10 Review: “Shape-Shifters”

  • April 25, 2019 at 7:40 am
    Permalink

    the “infamous stars and stripes“? Infamous to whom?

    Reply

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