“WOLFCOP” (Movie Review)
For us unapologetic werewolf freaks, it has indeed been a long wait.
As someone who’s spent far too much time watching myriad types of werewolf movies (and sadly also remembering the 95 percent of them that belong in a bog somewhere), the Canadian low-budgeteer WOLFCOP with its blatantly campy title, is a movie the writer approached with trepidation. Horror-comedies typically take the fun and fear out of the legitimate “fun-fear” we are supposed to enjoy when watching a scary monster movie while shivering in a theater, or nestled in our safe, comfortable living rooms. But WOLFCOP, with its “real” (i.e. properly costumed, non-CGI) werewolf roaming around on screen, snarling and screaming, is very refreshing to see indeed.
Lowell Dean, the writer and director of WOLFCOP, succeeds here in realizing a creature that is an amalgam of shape-shifters past: he is, in turns, the original Jack Pierce-sculpted THE WOLF MAN; he speaks like the dirty, abusive step-dad in BIG BAD WOLF; he enjoys cross-mammalian sex like the horny beast in THE HOWLING 2. He also packs heat and is excited by his new olfactory senses like Jack Nicholson’s character in WOLF. The movie that houses this monster isn’t nearly as magnificent, but it’s never boring.
Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) is a drunken deputy with no self-esteem, working in generic small town North America and barely holding on to his job. He routinely stumbles into his night shift and avoids any confrontation that might interfere with his goal of getting nicely toasted. This mundane routine goes awry when he’s “turned” during a neo-satanic ritual in the nearby woods after a typically besotted night. His transformation harkens to TEEN WOLF, except that this is not about basketball and picking up cheerleaders. Here, Lou Garou begins to find a deadly confidence and take back a town that is, on the surface, run by a rather cartoonish group of narco-traffickers.
This is where the work of Emerson Ziffle, Dean’s FX architect, shines. The transformation scene has always been the Holy Grail, the money shot for werewolf buffs, and Ziffle does not disappoint, going with a skin-molt transformation that has a few pleasantly gross twists and leaves one hell of a mess (and also hearkens to Neil Jordan’s THE COMPANY OF WOLVES).
It is pleasantly warming to see a werewolf slashing, biting and beheading the unsuspecting, and especially the solely deserving. While WOLFCOP does tend to overreach, and too-often falls back on its predictable buddy-cop formula splatstick shtick, it’s still plenty fun, giving one hope that WOLFCOP 2 will add a bit more sophistication to balance the quality fuzzy fuzz action. And yes…Dean is in the process of prepping WOLFCOP 2. Why wouldn’t he be?
WOLFCOP opens in select Canadian cities this week, with more to follow next. A US date has yet to be announced.