WolfCop Lowell Dean
Published Jun 05, 2014WolfCop (a film about a werewolf that's also a cop) is one of those movies that are awesome simply for existing. The work is almost entirely a product of Saskatchewan, with the director/writer, main cast and crew, and even the band that provided the soundtrack (psychedelic doom metal act Shooting Guns) all hailing from the prairie province. A combination of classic '70s and '80s horror excess, with a hyper-modern social media performance and web presence, WolfCop, as a phenomenon, has a kind of retro-futuristic ultra-coolness that both uplifts and transcends the on-screen product.
The film is set in the sleepy yet decrepit town of Woodhaven, where the ineffectual police force has let biker gangs, juvenile delinquency and generally dickery take hold of the community. One of the primary contributors to this failure in law enforcement is Lou Garou (Leo Fafard), an alcoholic, apathetic officer constantly belittled by his Chief (Aidan Devine) and shown up by straight-shooting, devoted co-worker Tina (Amy Matysio). He barely manages to have a friendship with the town conspiracy theorist and gun-peddler, Willie (Jonathan Cherry), and enjoys the pitying flirtation of bar owner Jessica (Sarah Lind).
Lou would likely be content spending his life being terrible at his job and gradually succumbing to cirrhosis were it not for the cult-like coterie of shape-shifters that secretly run the town, which targets Lou for a quasi-satanic rite that turns him into a werewolf. A carefully planned crime in the forest cancels the annual Drink 'n Shoot (a ceremonial hunt for the mythical beast of Woodhaven), so that the villains can perform their dark rites in the woods unmolested. They choose Lou because of his apparent weakness, but once he transforms, he becomes much more than his former self, taking the mantle of WolfCop and becoming more focused and heroic than he ever was as a man, tackling both the evil shape-shifters and crime in the town (including a trio of armed robbers who wear pig masks during their burglaries) with gusto and hilarious violence.
The film feels very much like a comic book origin story, with Lou struggling with his newfound powers, as well as his personal demons. As such, the plot develops somewhat slowly initially while Lou learns the true nature of what is happening to him in tiny increments via his booze-fogged brain, before exploding in an orgy of violence and epic battles in the final 20 minutes. It's incredibly easy to imagine a comic spin-off or web series, as Lou continues to find his footing as a supernatural law peace officer.
Billed as a horror-comedy, WolfCop definitely leans more towards the ridiculous than frightening. The effects, especially those surrounding Lou's transformation into a werewolf — in which he literally sheds his skin to reveal the monster beneath — are especially impressive. The violence is just cartoonish enough to be entertaining, rather than nauseating, and two separate incidents involving ripped-off faces manage to be both shocking and hilarious.
Tina (Lou's long-suffering co-worker) is the secret hero of the film; she believes in Lou when he's at his lowest, constantly pushing him to be better. She's a competent, devoted cop in a town that would prefer she look the other way, and she's able to put together the pieces of the nefarious puzzle quicker than anyone else. Her past is tied up in the secret evil controlling the town as well, and the partnership that blossoms between Tina and Lou feels genuine and well thought-out.
While things like character development and practical effects make Wolfcop a cut above the average b-grade slasher film, it's unabashed about its desire to be over-the-top and ridiculous, in the best ways possible. For every well-acted moment of almost tender bro-friendship between Willie and Lou, there's meth cut with werewolf blood, a pimped-out police car and an extended werewolf seduction scene in a holding cell. For fans of the horror-comedy genre, classic slashers and Mystery Science Theater 3000, WolfCop is pure, deliciously gory entertainment.