WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
In the beginning, there was ROBOCOP. Then came MANIAC COP, PSYCHO COP, SAMURAI COP, VAMPIRE COP, CYBORG COP, SCANNER COP, and ZOMBIE COP. (And someday, if Astron-6 feels the urge, we may even see a BIO-COP!) In the long tradition of films with “COP” in the title comes Canada’s newest crime-fighter, WOLFCOP!
Written and directed by Lowell Dean, this irreverent horror-comedy follows the exploits of Lou Garou (Leo Farard), a lazy, drunken police deputy who ends up becoming the “clawed” arm of the law in his small town of Woodhaven.
This film has been on my radar since its creators took part in Cinecoup’s Film Accelerator project last year. Out of over ninety film concepts that were developed during a fifteen week period, WOLFCOP got the most fan support. As a result, the film was financed for one-million dollars, and awarded a guaranteed theatrical run in Canada! (Way to go guys!)
Lou Garou (named after the legendary Rougarou) is a terrible police officer. He’s late every day, always looks shabby, doesn’t solve any cases, and is constantly drunk. That all changes one fateful night when he stumbles onto the scene of a Satanic ritual, and is captured by three hooded figures. He awakens in his own bed the following morning with a pentagram carved into his chest, and takes the discovery like a champ.
Instead of going to the hospital, he bandages his chest and goes off to work. Despite his continued alcoholism, Lou feels more alert, and soon begins putting his newly enhanced senses to good use. The death of a mayoral candidate, and the cancellation of Woodhaven’s annual “Drink N’ Shoot” celebration, entices Lou to do some actual police work. He discovers that similar events have occurred in Woodhaven’s past, about every thirty-two years, in conjunction with a lunar eclipse. But what does it all mean?!
Eventually Lou does in fact turn into a werewolf. Teamed with his crazy sidekick named Willie (Jonathan Cherry), Lou goes on a rampage of gory heroics. He thwarts a robbery (orchestrated by three armed men in pig masks), destroys a meth lab (ripping off a man’s face in the process), and turns his cop car into a “Wolfcop-mobile.” And if that weren’t enough, he also has a gratuitous sex scene in a jail cell with a sexy bartender named Jessica (Sarah Lind). Not surprisingly, she seduces him while dressed as Little Red Riding Hood.
As the film heads swiftly toward its climax, “Wolfcop” is captured by his creators for a ritual called “The Reckoning.” If successful, said ritual would mean the end of Woodhaven’s lycanthropic savior! Will Wolfcop survive and the save the day?! Well, I’ll tell you this much: A sequel is already in the works!
WOLFCOP revels in its ridiculous premise, and makes no apologies for the barrage of puns and homages it makes to werewolf mythology and fairy tales. It fully embraces the concept of a werewolf upholding the law in a small town, and it totally works in the the movie’s favor. Had a more serious approach been taken, I don’t think WOLFCOP would have succeeded.
The movie is surprisingly well-made, with an interesting script by writer/director Lowell Dean. I’ve watched a lot of werewolf flicks, and this one has one of the more original origin stories for one of history’s greatest monsters.
I’ve seen movies where you have to be bitten by a werewolf to become one. (The most common way.) I’ve seen movies where someone has been injected with werewolf blood or serum. I’ve even seen movies where lycanthropy is spread through sexual intercourse! However, WOLFCOP handles its mon-star’s origins in a completely different manner.
In an age where every movie monster seems to be a product of genetic tampering, werewolfism caused by Satanic rites is a rather fresh take on things. (And before you say anything, yes I know it was done in WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS back in ’71. ) And I like that the film’s villains, a trio of shapeshifting lizard-people, create wolfmen in order to harvest the creatures’ blood to retain their immortality. (Finally, a movie that takes those “lizard people are running the government” conspiracy theories and does something with it!)
The only problem is that the villains are underutilized, and we never get a cool monster battle. There were some clever moments that reveal which characters were the evil shapeshifters, but it is all for naught because the movie ends far too rapidly to build up any tension. I could have easily overlooked this if there was a tooth and claw battle between a lizardman and Wolfcop, but alas, this never happens.
WOLFCOP’s creatures are brought to life via practical effects, courtesy of Emersen Ziffle! In a world where nearly every movie relies on CGI, it is awesome to see a film veer away from that and do things the “old school way.” I totally dug the werewolf design for this film (very reminiscent of Paul Naschy’s werewolf hero, Waldemar Daninksy), and I thought the transformation scenes are done quite well. Instead of painfully contorting into a lupine creature, Lou actually has to peel off all his flesh to unleash the beast! It’s goo-tacular!
The cast for WOLFCOP is pretty decent, but my favorite character in the film has to be Willie. (Jonathan Cherry, star of such films as HOUSE OF THE DEAD, FINAL DESTINATION 2, and GOON.) Willie is a really quirky and hilarious character, that comes off as intelligently dumb. He rejoices in the fact that Lou is a booze-swilling werewolf, but also tries to reign in the shenanigans of his furry friend.
My only gripe with the character is that a little more effort should have been spent on making both he and Lou seem more like close friends, rather than just really good drinking buddies. It’s a minor complaint, but it really would’ve given Willie’s betrayal a big emotional punch at the end. Also, I have to give a shout-out to the film’s two lead actresses: Amy Matysio and Sarah Lind.
Amy plays Lou’s cute, and super-competent partner Tina. She basically serves as Woodhaven’s entire police force until Lou begins to get his shit together, and provides the film with a smart, and strong heroine. Sarah Lind plays Jessica, the lusty bartender of the “Tooth and Nail.” She’s not too hard on the eyes and is great as a backwoods sexpot. She also has a dark little secret that is revealed shortly after she gets some use out of Lou’s “wolf dork.”
All in all, I really enjoyed WOLFCOP, so much so, that I watched it twice! It’s a fun throwback to the over-the-top 80s horror-comedies many of us grew up with! Though the film’s final act is a bit on the weak side, it does plenty right to deserve a recommendation from yours truly! WOLFCOP has blood, breasts, and beasts (Joe Bob Briggs’ “3 B’s of the Drive-In!”), a cool soundtrack (and a theme song, remember when movies had those?!), great practical effects, and a bitchin’ movie poster! What’s not to love?!
I was pleasantly surprised by WOLFCOP, and am more than happy to award Lowell Dean’s indie monsterpiece: