Oct 192014
three reels

Lou Carou (Leo Fafard) is a drunken loser deputy in a corrupt town where a “Drink & Shoot” is thought of as a good idea and Liquor Donuts is a thriving business. He is a disappointment to the sheriff (Aidan Devine) and the one good deputy (Amy Matysio), but is on excellent terms with the stunning and shifty bar tender Jessica (Sarah Lind). Lou is grabbed by some cultists who perform a ritual on him, making him a werewolf for some nefarious purpose connected to local murders. However, Lou turns out to be a far better cop as a wolf than he was as a human.

Wolfcop is gory, silly, and twisted, and it is a whole lot of fun. If you are heading out to a midnight cult movie screening (do they still do that?), this is the film you want to see. If at home, invite some friends and keep the booze flowing.

It’s surprisingly well made for its budget. Fafard is an amiable lead and looks natural enough that someone might want to check him into AA. Matysio is the anchor for the film, allowing everyone else to go wild, and Lind is the kind of attractive that only pops up in supermodel cover shoots. Sure, the feature doesn’t look expensive, but this isn’t hack work, with shots and lighting I don’t expect without five times the cash, and a bit of grain in the print isn’t a problem for a film where a drunken werewolf rips a guy’s arms off. While the film as a whole looks good, the wolf makeup looks great, and the transformation scenes are spectacular. These are up with the best that’s been done.

As an homage to ‘80s horror, ‘80s cop flicks, and ‘80s comedy, it is only slightly more clever than the films it sprung from. If you are looking for theme or wit, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a lot of gore and a monster that pauses to trick out his car, then you’ve found your film. It does have an original mythology, but it would rather focus on a hilarious werewolf-human sex scene, complete with a sappy retro-ballad, then spend time on world building details. With a runtime of 79 minutes, avoiding going too deep is a virtue. It zips in, tells its joke, rips out an eyeball, and then is gone.

Oct 182014
two reels

A rush of hormones turns high school golden boy Cayden Richards (Lucas Till) into a werewolf. He awakens to find he’d attacked his girlfriend and killed his parents, so goes on the run. A strange werewolf (John Pyper-Ferguson) he meets along the way puts him on the path toward the secluded town of Lupine Ridge, where town werewolves who never use their powers are terrorized by the wolf pack that lives in the mountains and is lead by Connory Slaughter (Jason Momoa). Cayden is taken in by kindly old werewolf-farmer John Tollerman (Stephen McHattie) who explains that he was adopted and his real parents were from this town. It soon becomes clear that he is the deciding factor in the local problems as he is a purebred, making him stronger than most werewolves. Slaughter, also a purebred, plans to breed with Angel Timmins (Merritt Patterson), the only young purebred left in town and the girl Cayden has fallen for. Naturally, Cayden is going to fight.

Erg… Some films make me tired. It isn’t that Wolves is bad; in fact there is a great deal to like about it. The make-up is good, the fights are exciting in a Teen-wolf dunking a basketball kind of way, and the directors of some recent 200 million+ productions could learn from Wolves how to shoot dark scenes. Stephen McHattie is very good (as he always is) and the whole production looks like it was put together with care and thought. There’s no gaping plot holes.

But it just doesn’t matter. The beginning narration needed to be followed by a biting satire. That would have been a fine way to go. Or it could have gone for horror. But Wolves takes the young adult route in the weakest way. Themes are thrown out, as is any kind of emotion. The curse of being a werewolf and murdering your parents isn’t taken as something to get all that worked up over. Cayden isn’t a monster, he’s a superhero, a fantasy for teenagers who are feeling picked on.

Lucas Till is the lead because he’s a pretty boy. He isn’t bad, but he brings nothing else. Merritt Patterson plays the girlfriend because she’s a pretty girl. She brings her looks, and that’s about it. It seems clear by now that Jason Momoa has an impressive physical presence, and knows how to stand and smolder, but after that he’s empty.

Which leaves the plot, which is the typical boy grows into his powers and gets the girl young adult stuff, except he doesn’t even do much growing. He just is. Superhero films can’t function on plot because we know how they will end—so the good ones go for character studies, or comedies. This one just plods along. Nothing matters. There are no stakes. You’d think that threatening to rape a teen girl would drum up something, but nope; we know it isn’t going to happen and it doesn’t matter. There’s a reveal toward the end that supposedly changes everything, except it also carries no weight and is worth nothing more than a shrug.

It doesn’t help that this is one of those magic-type stories that falls apart due to the existence of guns. Werewolves die in ordinary ways in this movie, and the non-pure wolves don’t heal terribly well, so if the hero had just gone out and bought a few pistols, a shotgun, and a rifle, it all would have been over in ten minutes.

There’s fun to be hand in the pretty people and the prettier fighting, but you’ll enjoy Wolves as much with the sound turned down and fast forwarding it to whatever scene looks cool. This one was forgotten as soon as it appeared. There’s a reason for that.

 Horror, Reviews, Werewolves Tagged with: