The *constant* screaming from lead cop Jim Cummings (also the writer & director) grows from a thorn in The Wolf of Snow Hollow’s side to a hunting knife right through the gut, largely overwhelming everything else on display. It’s especially frustrating because, putting his shining example of everything wrong with police officers & some odd editing/tonal issues aside a moment, there’s almost a pretty good werewolf movie in here. If only the narrative had focused more on Riki Lindhome’s level-headed investigating officer instead of Cummings’ unhinged alcoholic cop whose most notable trait is being a complete loudmouth dickead to everyone he interacts with.
When a woman is brutally killed and mutilated in Snow Hollow, the kind of small town where everyone knows each other’s business, recovering alcoholic officer John Marshall (Jim Cummings) finds himself overwhelmed by life. Between his ailing father, Sheriff Hadley (Robert Forster), and teenage daughter with a mind of her own, Jenna (Chloe East), officer Marshall takes his life frustrations out on everyone around him while officer Julia Robson (Riki Lindhome) does her best to competently investigate what quickly becomes more than a single murder. The killings suggest a large wolf may be responsible, but everyone knows werewolves aren’t real…
It becomes obvious early on The Wolf of Snow Hollow has less interest in werewolf-based horrors than how the murders–almost all of whom are women–affect loose-cannon John Marshall and his struggle with sobriety. In other hands John could have perhaps been an interesting character to follow, but for whatever reason writer/director/star Jim Cummings opts to yell and scream what feels like every line. I’m sure his daddy being sheriff figures into why John gets away with so many of the out-of-bounds things he does which an average person would surely be arrested for (yay nepotism!) but eventually enough is enough already.
Even if I were to give The Wolf of Snow Hollow the benefit of the doubt that it’s actually *supposed* to be about the gross ways cops wantonly abuse their powers while fellow officers look the other way, roll their eyes, or laugh it off Cummings’ increasingly grating performance only left me hoping a werewolf would kill him sooner rather than later to spare me any more nonstop whiny screaming. Sure, several characters occasionally point out how much of an ass John is but that doesn’t deter him or the movie from continually showcasing his insufferable personality above all else with quirky edits and musical choices to make it quite clear the horrible murders involving missing female organs and otherwise mutilated corpses take a backseat to John’s feelings.
As I said earlier, Riki Lindhome and her matter-of-fact character would have been a very welcome change of pace from the apparent endless supply of alcoholics and buffoons often featured when it comes to cops in horror movies. She’s calm, collected, and while much of what’s going on clearly bothers her she doesn’t let her emotions run wild or look for solace at the bottom of a bottle. Robert Forster (in one of his final film roles) as an ailing sheriff not quite up to the task who realizes his off-base son isn’t cut out for this line of work would have also made a more preferable lead, but I guess for Cummings “written and directed by” just didn’t have the same ring to it as “starring writer and director” so here we are.
Anyway, now that I’ve hopefully made clear how much a misfire I found Cummings’ as the lead character, I’ll also say The Wolf of Snow Hollow was never boring and features an enjoyably snowy setting with a supporting cast of possible victims & red herrings who do their jobs well. It’s also got a few very effective set pieces when it comes to werewolf killings, if you’re into that sort of thing. Hopefully next time Cummings’ restricts his involvement to behind the camera with perhaps a small role for himself and lets others more effectively bring his story to life.
6 out of 10 Nepotism Hires