WolfCop gets a lot of mileage from its low, low budget
by Aidan Morgan
“Lou, you’re a wolf!”
Wolfcop. Is he a wolf, or is he a cop? A monster, or a hero? Did Leo Fafard wear full prosthetic makeup for the titular role, or did he just let his stubble grow in a bit? These are the questions we’re invited to ponder as this ridiculous and highly entertaining comedy/horror from writer-director Lowell Dean rolls on.
Fafard plays Sgt. Lou Garou, an alcoholic washout of a cop in a town that seems to have given up on basic civilization long ago. He’s harassed by his boss (Aidan Devine), barely tolerated by his partner Tina (Amy Matysio, in a role that could have benefited from her improv talent) and generally mocked by the criminals and drunks who populate Woodhaven. His only friends seem to be the local bartender (Sarah Lind) and conspiracy theorist Willie (Jonathan Cherry).
In the meantime, there are women to sleep with, flasks to swig from, robberies down at the Liquor Donuts convenience store, and a series of unexplained gruesome murders that occur every 32 years. The normal stuff.
Oh, and apparently some weirdos performed a ritual that’s turned Garou into a werewolf. Unfortunately for them, this werewolf has a badge, a gun and a lot less tolerance for crime than he had as a human.
Despite some recognizably Saskatchewan locations, WolfCop is set in the crime-ridden everytown of Woodhaven (which I think might be one more dirty joke in a movie full of crude asides). It’s a sketch of post-industrial decay: the police station is sprayed with graffiti and partially boarded up, the only gathering spot in town is the local bar, and the local crime boss (Jesse Moss) walks around unmolested. It feels like a version of Blue Velvet’s Lumberton if the villains had taken over and dumped Kyle Maclachlan’s body on the edge of town.
On top of this punkish, broken-down universe, Dean throws in nearly every B-movie cliché he can think of, from ridiculously gory deaths to a softcore sex scene tricked out with every single hamfisted trope imaginable. The star of the show may be Emersen Ziffle’s special effects, particularly Garou’s transformation — accomplished entirely with prosthetics and gallons of fake blood. This is a movie for hardcore genre fans, whether it’s for straight-up horror or old Abel Ferrara exploitation flicks.
It’s hard to offer unqualified praise for WolfCop, because the movie is clearly hampered by a limited budget (less than $2 million) and a punishingly brief shooting schedule. Also, too often the camera cuts away from an important shot, giving the viewer almost no time to linger on the gleefully gory details. Given the abundance of talent and creativity that went into the special effects, it’s a shame that we don’t get to see a little more of them.
Except for one particular shot, which I won’t reveal to you — but trust me, when you see it, you’ll be glad that it only lasted a split second.