The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) Offers Up Fun and Frosty Comedic Bite
Title: The Wolf of Snow Hollow
First Wide Release: October 8, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Jim Cummings
Writer: Jim Cummings
Runtime: 83 Minutes
Starring: Jim Cummings, Riki Lindhome, Robert Forster
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
A loving couple vacationing in the beautiful snowscape of the Utah mountains finally crash in their rental home after a nice meal. Aside from a minor disagreement on handling a tense altercation with some sexist locals, the couple’s spirits are high now that they can enjoy their hot tub and a few glasses of wine. When one of them goes to refill their glasses, they return to find their partner bloodied and torn to pieces. Police arrive on the scene and not long after rumors begin spreading that a werewolf is on the loose in sleepy Snow Hollow.
An off-beat werewolf film with a unique comedic bent, The Wolf of Snow Hollow delivers sidesplitting chills and thrills.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow genuinely surprises with an engaging and clever script. We are treated to a cast of zany and endearing characters, particularly a comically stressed police officer (Jim Cummings), who resolves to end the mystery behind the rash of deaths plaguing the small town. Local politics, a distant daughter, bumbling coworkers, and a stubborn father all make his job just that much harder. The glue that holds the film together, Cummings is not only the film’s lead actor but also its writer and director.
It’s clear that he set himself up for success in a role but he does steal the show pretty much every time he is in frame. Even still, part of his success is because of how delightfully unhinged his character can be in his quest for a resolution behind the case. Riki Lindhome plays straight well, complementing his antics throughout the feature which keeps his character close to Earth. Additionally, I appreciate how John’s character arc ends. It’s nontraditional but still in a small way heroic; it circumvents expectations, something The Wolf of Snow Hollow does best.
Part of his quandary is proving that a human, and not a werewolf, is responsible for the senseless acts of depravity on the small town. This, of course, means that the film plays out over the course of several weeks, yet this never effects the quick pacing nor the development of our main characters. The scenes blend together seamlessly, which helps with the unravelling of the mystery. It’s essential for films like this to utilize appropriate establishing shots to showcase the passage of time. Beautiful and imaginative shots decorate the film’s landscape that show the quaint and creeping fear nestled underneath the wintry terrain of the town.
One of my favorite aspects of this film is that while it is grounded in realism, it plays out like a lighter crime fantasy. The film implements a variety of techniques to elicit laughter from the audience which knocks you out when you least expect it. Furthermore, it shifts from suspenseful and brooding to merry and heartfelt every so often, switching roles whenever needed but never failing to form a cohesive and exciting film experience. The effects work adds to this feeling of realism as well. The wolf costuming, in particular, is quite smart and very deceiving. It’s almost like you are looking at the real thing! One of my favorite shots, and easily the most memorable from the film, is a dark and crisp werewolf attack in a car at night.
I don’t believe The Wolf of Snow Hollow is meant to be taken too seriously, but I do think there is some great content here regarding police incompetence with subtext about the importance of duty. Most of the problems seem to recur because the police don’t know what they are doing, how to proceed, or when to keep their mouths shut. An ongoing gag is almost every other character piping up that the police could be doing their job better. Very few of the officers have much sense and often resort to physical violence to get the job done. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a deeper commentary on policing issues, but it still stands out nonetheless. A caustic yet somehow hopeful film, The Wolf of Snow Hollow hits all the beats it needs to in order to bring its pugnacious script to life.
Definitely a quirky movie, The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a delight to watch and offers plenty of wit and suspense to satiate the average horror buff. While it doesn’t shine as bright as other releases, it certainly deserves a spot at the table to commemorate some of the interesting genre offerings of the year. Overall a fun movie, Jim Cummings delivers a nice slice of snowy mystery for horror fans to enjoy in the winter months. I recommend this film to anyone willing to sink their teeth into a solid indie horror comedy without crying wolf.
Overall Score? 7/10