Craig J. Clark — Jun. 1st 2015
As a regular contributor to this site for the past four years, I’ve been privy to production details of a great many werewolf films at all stages of their development. There is none, however, that I’ve heard more about than the Canadian horror-comedy WolfCop. From its entry in the CineCoup Film Accelerator competition in the spring of 2013 to the report that it would be hitting movie screens in the U.S. last fall (something that unfortunately never came to pass), there was a time when it seemed like Werewolf News could have been renamed WolfCop News and no one would have batted an eye. Good thing, then, that it more than lives up to the hype.
The brainchild of writer/director Lowell Dean, who wisely doesn’t skimp on the werewolf action, WolfCop stars Leo Fafard as functionally alcoholic sheriff’s deputy Lou Garou (whose name is one of many jokes and puns Dean’s screenplay is littered with), the sort of lawman that gives the badge a bad name, much to the chagrin of his chief (Aidan Devine). He certainly can’t hold a candle to go-getter Tina Walsh (Amy Matysio), who picks up his very loose slack, but that all changes when he’s dispatched to investigate a disturbance in the woods on the outskirts of town — and so does he. “Save me the paperwork. Go the fuck home,” he pleads before stumbling onto the scene of a ritual sacrifice and getting knocked out by a trio of mysterious figures in masks and long cloaks previously glimpsed in the occult symbol-laden credit sequence. The next morning, Lou wakes up to find a pentagram carved into his chest and that his senses are heightened, but that’s nothing compared to what happens when night falls.
One thing for which Dean and his producers can be commended is their insistence on practical makeup and transformation effects. These first come into play in a big way when Lou is doing some police work at his favorite watering hole — the Tooth & Nail Tavern, owned by the shapely Jessica (Sarah Lind) — on the night of the full moon and changes just in time to eviscerate some thugs sent after him for reasons known only to their boss (Jesse Moss), the local drug lord. (I realize they aren’t unique to this film, but the skin-bursting effects are appropriately disgusting.) Subsequently subdued by conspiracy theorist Willie Higgins (Jonathan Cherry), Lou learns more about his condition and the curious history of his town, with its annual Hunt for the Woodhaven Beast, colloquially known as the “Drink ‘n’ Shoot,” which is cancelled every 32 years like clockwork. The real breakthrough happens that night, though, when Lou has Willie lock him in a cell before he transforms, only for him to find he has enough presence of mind to don his uniform and head out into the night (with Willie as his chaperone) to foil a robbery, trick out his squad car, urinate on some vandals, and destroy a meth lab. It’s all in a night’s work for WolfCop.
I suppose because he couldn’t resist, Dean slips a few fairy-tale references into the proceedings. Not only does WolfCop neutralize a trio of notorious robbers in pig masks, but he also has a run-in with a Little Red Riding Hood that turns decidedly steamy. Less expected is the apparent nod to Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master since it eventually comes out that alcohol increases his strength considerably. That it also activates his quip-delivery centers (“What the fuck are you?” asks one miscreant. “The fuzz,” he growls) pretty much goes with the territory.