Werewolf movies can either be a howlin’ good time like Adrián García Bogliano’s Late Phases, taking a bite out of softer genre efforts, or they can be like David Hayter’s Wolves, a mainstream safety net that makes you want to cuddle a werewolf instead of run away in fear. Werewolves can be horrifying, menacing beasts, or overgrown house pets, spanning a varied spectrum of physical embodiments from humanistic (Wer) to cartoony (Wolves), which is why I have to commend filmmaker Lowell Dean on creating a werewolf movie full of gore, hilarity, and a werewolf police officer who’s more of a comic book hero than furry mythical creature. WolfCop is “Dirty Harry only hairier,” and his first case is every bit a bonkers B-Movie revival that midnight movie fans pray for – littered with fairytale references and a little animalistic cavorting for all you furry exhibitionists out there!
Leo Fafard plays small-town sheriff Lou Garou, a raging alcoholic who can barely keep himself sober enough to solve a noise complaint. Garou’s life is changed during a strange complaint deep in the woods, assumed to be rambunctious teens, but occult forces reveal themselves and perform some type ritual that leaves behind a pentagram wound. Ignoring the strange night, Lou finds himself transforming into a ferocious creature once darkness falls, contained by gun-enthusiast Willie Higgins (Jonathan Cherry) before he can cause too much damage. Willie does his best to watch Lou each night, locking up the werewolf, until Lou decides to start using his newly acquired “powers” for good. Is he a wolf? Is he a cop? Neither – he’s WolfCop!
I’ll admit that certain moments of WolfCop don’t exactly display Oscar-quality acting, but that’s not why you’re watching Fafard run around in werewolf makeup. Dean’s screenplay trudges through generic wit when building his howling enforcer’s backstory, fully loaded with bumbling police-work and drunken swaying, but Farfad recovers when entering WolfCop mode. Ripping faces off with the frequency of MacGruber throat-rips, Fafard finds ways to become emotive while covered head-to-toe in fur, but he still manages to build his status as a horrific action star.
WolfCop is something born from Clint Eastwood and a pre-sobriety Robert Downey Jr., but his antics are always warranted, and usually just as hilarious as they are grotesque. The transformation is on-par with An American Werewolf In London, except Dean goes one step further by having it take place while Garou is urinating – so we get a full, stretchy view of his wolf-dick transforming. Fleshy patches are thrown around the bathroom while Garou assumes his fuzzy final form, and once the character unleashes his ferocity, the film evolves into a dark criminal caper. Rockabilly folk music is swapped for a synthy vibe, WolfCop pimps out his patrol cruiser, and the wolf-inspired puns start flowing. From killing three robbers dressed in pig masks to having sex with a girl dressed as Little Red Riding Hood (yes, WolfCop gets the ladies), Dean turns detail into a puntiferic playground – right down to the “Liquor Donuts” restaurant Garou frequents. This is pure, unadulterated, WolfCop goodness.
There’s a whole cultist case that Garou/WolfCop has to crack, which ends up being the film’s driving conflict, but if you’re watching WolfCop, it’s for the crime-fighting shenanigans that prove to be far more than a goofy gimmick. This flick is fun with a capital “F-U,” and the entire cast gets in on the jovial antics. Amy Matysio plays Garou’s sidekick of sorts, even though she’s a profoundly more efficient officer of the law, but it’s Matysio’s ability to roll with Fafard’s punches that shines brighter than other supporting characters. Most cast members are comical and have their bright moments, but Matysio’s work-related banter builds a strong chemistry between Garou and Tina – a sweet buddy-wolfcop vibe.
As for the Blu-Ray quality, WolfCop is a perfectly apt transfer that captures every gory second of WolfCop’s skin-stretching performance in what might be an all-too-crisp picture (for weaker stomaches). The red tints that Dean uses to saturate his “hero” add a blood-colored spotlight when tension mounts, and the retro scoring adds an awesomely throwback attitude to it all. The experience is like a pulpy, grindhouse vibe that smells of indie filmmaking at times, but the splatter effects look great, and even Fafard’s makeup looks shaggily appropriate when put under a hyper-intensive lens.
As for the special features, here’s what you’ve got to bite into:
- WolfCop Unleashed – Behind The Scenes Featurette
- The Birth Of Wolfcop (CineCoup Year In Review/Promo/Mission Videos/Final Reveal)
- Film Outtakes
- Commentary With Writer/Director Lowell Dead And Special Effects Artist Emersen Ziffle
- Wolfcop Music Video
For those of you wondering how Wolfcop got its start, there are a few short featurettes that delve into CineCoup’s competition. Yup, Lowell beat out a slew of other projects to ensure Wolfcop would be delivered to the masses, and we’re damn happy he did. There’s also a nifty music video for “Henry” by the band Rah Rah, which has a little Wolfcop twist to it. Fans of Amy Matysio will enjoy the outtake reel, which features the female actress playing with a fake severed penis for a solid few minutes, but there’s not much else besides that. A few other trailers and commentary bits exist, plus a Trailer Park Boys shout-out for Wolfcop, so there’s enough to keep you busy after the credits role.
In short, WolfCop dares to blend two genres together in a wacky, madcap, almost slapstick sort of way, but all that matters is that it works. And it does. On levels it probably shouldn’t. Fafard embodies both a drunken recluse and a nightmarish fairytale with the same intoxicating energy (whether he’s intoxicated or not), but the likes of Jonathan Cherry and Amy Matysio ensure that Fafard doesn’t have to carry the film’s burden alone. Lowell Dean probably sounded like a madman when pitching his lawfully dismissive hero, but now we’re the ones howling at the moon with laughter. So, how about a sequel?
This is another funky midnight movie that probably shouldn't work, but thanks to Lowell Dean's commitment to horror punnery, WolfCop is a perfect cult classic full of bloody transformations, throat-rips, and werewolf law enforcers.