Review: 'The Wolf of Snow Hollow' is bloody Halloween season fun
Courtesy of Orion Pictures
Jim Cumming’s bloody romp and second directorial feature: “The Wolf of Snow Hollow” works as an homage to cheesy, B-movie werewolf flicks, but still exists on its own merits as a perfect Halloween season entry. The obvious comparison sure to come up in conversation is how “Snow Hollow” relates to “An American Werewolf in London.” One could certainty make the case, although I don’t remember “London” cracking nearly as many jokes.
If anything, “Snow Hollow” uncovers the criminal lack of werewolf flicks in the marketplace - or, lack of good werewolf flicks. When executed with a solid mystery, quirky characters, and victims getting graphically dismembered, the werewolf sub-genre can certainly raise your heart rate, and “Snow Hollow” more than fits the bill. The film, which Cummings wrote, is fairly comical and light in tone, a healthy balance mixed in with the brutal, often unseen, slashings.
Snow Hollow, Utah, is the type of quaint, sleepy, town where crime is nonexistent and someone could insult you and then say: “Have a nice day!” If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume Snow Hollow was in Canada. But tragedy strikes the small village when a string of young girls are found mauled and mutilated, sending a shockwave through the townsfolk and the police department who are frightened at the implications.
Enter the unhinged, recovering alcoholic John Marshall (Cummings) who is in line to succeed his father, Sheriff Hadley (Robert Forster in his final on screen role). Contrary to media reports, John doesn’t assume the attacks were made by a wolf, and his intellect points him in different directions. He’s working on the case with Officer Julia Robson (Riki Lindhome) though the forthcoming Sheriff is known to lose his temper from time to time, allowing Cummings to go full tilt, hilariously screaming at coroners, fellow deputies, and even his dad to come up with any leads to help break the case. When they start to piece together the attacks are happening during full moons, speculation starts to run rampant and everyone becomes a suspect,
At 90 minutes (the first good sign of a solid werewolf feature), “Snow Hollow,” is essentially what you’d call the “Monster of the Week” episode. We don’t necessarily care about whose getting axed as long as the deaths are memorable, and there’s a sound three act structure to help piece the film together. Cummings is tasked with the toughest and meatiest role playing the Sheriff who is struggling to raise his college bound daughter and coming to terms with his father's ailing health. Not only does Cummings convey the caring parent he wants to be, but an overworked police officer on the brink of a mental breakdown. It’s an on/off switch the actor shoulders well, even if you question whether or not to like his personality. He’s an asshole and not afraid to admit it, but you can tell he’s trying to learn the errors of his ways.
Such character development and sweetness in the backdrop of a horror comedy doesn’t happen often, a testament to the ingenuity of Cummings' screenplay. Things move quickly through “Snow Hollow,” the mystery gets wrapped up nicely, the Werewolf attacks are believable, and watching Forster in his final cinematic appearance is emotional.
In other words, horror junkies looking for their fix rejoice! Your next best Halloween film has arrived to enlighten the spooky season.
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW will be available on digital and open in select theaters October 9th.