Werewolf movies are probably some of the most difficult genre offerings to delve into. The actual creature can easily come off as comical or cartoony especially if utilizing CGI. The most memorable come from practical effects with onset costumes. Another creative decision involves how much screen time is given. My personal favorite comes from the Ginger Snaps franchise where the focus was primarily on the characterizations of those infected with the turning. We get screen time with the werewolves but they are usually brief, though memorable enough to see what can be done with minimal funds and still be successful.
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW has a bit of a satirical take on the sub-genre but enhances it by creating a cop-centric murder mystery. The film opens traditionally with a weekend getaway set in a cabin where a young couple realizes only one of them will be leaving when an off-camera attack leaves one in pieces. However, they aren’t the only victim and soon this small mountain town has a serial killer on its hands. The victims are primarily introduced via POV shots from the killer. There’s an obvious discomfort but I suppose it was a creative decision to make these scenarios apparent. There’s a concern throughout town for potential new crimes, yet the killer succeeds at finding fresh victims.
Our lead cop, John Marshall (Jim Cummings, who also serves as writer and director) has anger issues along with being a recovering alcoholic. His emotional troubles feel downplayed and at times used for comedic purposes. THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW is a horror-comedy with an emphasis on the comedy; however, Marshall’s personal demons would have really benefited if this was more of a darker genre offering. However, much like another horror writer/director that I will not name, Cummings role feels born of vanity and less of a greater artistic purpose. There’s no feeling of becoming the role.
Much of this perspective is seen through fellow officer, Julia Robson (Riki Lindhome, The Last House on the Left) who honesty steals the show. THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW could easily see a successful spinoff featuring her character in the lead. She has the comedic timing and on-screen presence necessary to keep a movie flowing. Her natural moments have previously shined on the Comedy Central series “Another Period,” where she plays a Kardashian-like debutante living in early 20th century Rhode Island.
There are a few special features included on the Blu-ray release, including one titled “Working With Jim Cummings.” The others delve into the story and design of the werewolf. Now, in regards to the wolf itself, credit is due to the design. THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW embraces minimalism and the wolf shots are memorable. Housed in a slipcover, the film translates to disc with a rather vibrant picture. I wasn’t sure if that was a filmmaker choice or just how the transfer to Blu-ray happened, but the 5.1 audio track delivers what’s necessary.
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW feels more of a vanity project from someone who wanted to create their own Dale Cooper, but someone out there will probably enjoy it.
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW is now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. If you want a deep dive into the film, check out our Fantastic Fest review.