Let’s howl at the moon.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a new horror/humor hybrid from writer, director, star Jim Cummings. Before we even jump into the film, let’s talk about the potential issues with having one person have so much control. Movies need editors, actors need guidance, and directors need freedom to work with a script. I’m not trying to trash Cummings here, but I think it takes an incredibly rare talent to be able to have complete control and have something turn out nicely. Unfortunately, this one seems to suffer from a lack of voices in the creative process.
This film also seems to prove to me that I will never get to see a new and good werewolf film in my life.
Meet John (Cummings). He’s an alcoholic and rage-oholic who spends most of the film yelling and being a dick to everyone. After a young woman is murdered, mutilated, and her vaginal region taken by the killer, John is on the case. How will he handle this? By freaking out and yelling at everyone. His father Hadley (Robert Forster) is suffering from a heart condition and being pressured to quit the job as sheriff by John. Presumably, John wants the promotion. So he yells at his dad.
John also sucks at being a dad and an ex-husband. Shocking, I know. I also know that defenders of this film will say that his characterization is a deliberate attempt to showcase toxic masculinity, which the film does deserve credit for trying to do, but it is so clunky and forced it does not work.
We get an extended sequence where John flips out (and assaults a colleague) about being stressed out while another woman’s corpse is in the snow next to him. How effective of a point this is might vary from person to person, but it isn’t a stretch to imagine people will see John as more of a dickhead than a commentary of toxic masculinity.
Scenes of John being taken care of by women show that he is completely reliant without being aware enough to recognize his own deficiencies. However, we don’t get to know these women outside of their interactions with John. The film becomes so John focused that I would bet he is present in more than 90% of the scenes, which seems to be a trend when the director is also the star. What happens is that we are stuck with a misguided and undeserved arc of a stupid man instead of anything discussing the inner workings of the film’s more interesting characters.
You might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned the werewolf. Well, I’m going to let you down easy and let you know that the werewolf is barely present. We have to have more room for John!
In all fairness, the werewolf attacks are great. The wolf itself looks awesome (yay practical effects) and you’ll be hungry for more of these scenes.
We end up with a horror/humor hybrid that wants to make smart points but chooses to not make smart decisions. I didn’t hate the movie, but I wanted something much better. I’d avoid paying for it and wait for streaming if you’re curious. The film improves as it goes—a rough introduction does sour a lot of it though.
Overall, a mixed back. Don’t click the “2” page unless you’ve seen the movie. Spoiler review ahead.