Lowell Dean’s lycanthropic horror comedy is brutal, funny, and action-packed.
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The werewolf genre is something of an underserved cinematic subsect. There are a handful of truly great films, like An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Ginger Snaps, Dog Soldiers, and a select few other titles that really stand out. But the output pales in comparison to the likes of the slasher or vampire genres. With that said, I have an often-overlooked recommendation sure to scratch your lycanthropic itch. WolfCop is hilarious and gory. Moreover, it manages to serve up plenty of high-stakes action sequences in a refreshingly short runtime.
The film follows Lou Garou, a hard-drinking, fast-living, irresponsible man-child with a badge. He is roughly one disaster away from getting fired when he catches wind of a crime spree with ties to the occult. From there, the lawman takes a sincere interest in the investigation and comes dangerously close to taking his job seriously. As he continues his detective work Lou cannot shake the feeling that he may, in fact, be a werewolf.
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As ridiculous as the set-up sounds, WolfCop is a film that works well thanks to a smart script and solid performances from a talented cast. Writer/director Lowell Dean’s screenplay gifts the film’s cast with some truly choice dialogue. But the lead characters take Dean’s words and make them memorable.
Canadian actor Leo Fafard really shines as Lou. This feels like the role he was born to play. His physicality and demeanor are a natural fit for the part. Fafard is hirsute and imposing. And with a bit of five o’clock shadow, he looks almost animalistic. Even more importantly, Fafard has great comedic timing. The way he rattles off one-liners with a stone-cold straight face makes it almost impossible not to guffaw at his constant stream of smart-ass remarks. He also manages to make the character almost likable, in spite of Lou’s lack of any real redeeming qualities. And that is no small feat.
Jonathan Cherry is also smartly cast as Willie, the sidekick with a few screws loose. Cherry fully commits to the performance and is quite believable as a goofball slacker with more heart than common sense. In a film filled with quotable dialogue, Willie is responsible for some of the most memorable exchanges. Additionally, his character has a pretty unexpected arc that genuinely surprised me a couple of times.
Willie’s good nature and enthusiastic demeanor serve to offset Lou’s gruff and impatient ways. They are the yin to one another’s yang. And that friendship dynamic coupled with dark humor gives WolfCop a certain amount of buddy comedy energy.
None of this sounds like it should work on paper. I mean, we are talking about a werewolf, buddy cop, horror-comedy, action film with persistent crude humor and nonstop gross-out gags. Hearing about the film without having experienced it, one might assume that writer/director Lowell Dean tried to do too much. But every piece of this puzzle fits together to make WolfCop a delight to experience.
In addition to a great script and impressive performances, the film also boasts stellar effects. The transformation sequences are intense and beautifully executed, especially considering that writer/director Lowell Dean probably didn’t have a massive budget to work with. Rather than going the more traditional route where the subject sort of morphs into a wolf, the transition sequences see Lou actually bursting through his human skin to reveal a solid layer of fur underneath. It is a little repulsive. But I mean that in the most complimentary sense of the word.
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All in all, the film is effectively paced with a runtime that goes less than 90-minutes. And it delivers plenty of action sequences, ample bloodshed, and a series of twists and turns that keep things lively until the final frame. Not to mention, it leans into the ludicrous nature of the subject matter and goes over the top in all the right ways.
If you’ve missed out on this achievement of lycanthropic cinema, WolfCop is free to stream via Tubi (with ads) and on Amazon Prime as of the publication of this post. If you like what you see, be sure to check out the sequel, Another WolfCop.
Lastly, if you’re a fan of under-seen cinema and are keen to chat more, you can find me on Twitter: @FunWithHorror.