MOVIE REVIEW: “The Wolf of Snow Hollow” stars Jim Cummings (Thunder Road , Greener Grass), Riki Lindhome (Knives Out, The Lego Batman Movie), Robert Forster (Olympus Has Fallen, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie), Chloe East (Generation [TV series], Kevin [Probably] Saves the World [TV series]), Will Madden (Beast Beast, The Beta Test), Annie Hamilton (Marriage Story , Drib), Jimmy Tatro (Grown Ups 2, 22 Jump Street), Hannah Elder (The Fairy [Short], Fort Irwin [Short]), Kelsey Edwards (Minor Details), Skyler Bible (First Man, Perry Mason [TV series]), Anne Sward (As the World Turns [TV series], Brigham City), Demetrius Daniels (Scarlett, Ruling of the Heart), Kevin Changaris (Scandal [TV series], Agent Carter [TV series]), Chase Palmer (Yellowstone [TV series], Snatchers [TV series]), and Daniel Fenton Anderson. It is written and directed by Jim Cummings.
A gruesome string of murders involving young women getting torn to shreds prompts a small mountain town police force to suspect this is the workings of a werewolf.
Jim Cummings’ follow-up to his first feature “Thunder Road” comes as a horror involving a werewolf. Just in time for October (er, end of September, I should say).
It’s tough to find a filmmaker who hasn’t become world-renowned and follow their journey. You never know who will become a break-out, let alone make projects that are worth seeing. Cummings surprised me with “Thunder Road,” primarily because of his unique style. His humor is dry, almost that of a black comedy. It’s not like a “Napoleon Dynamite” where everything is awkward. He’s adopted his own brand; the kind where you are unsure whether to laugh or not. And for a guy who has made plenty of short films garnering reactions such as that, I resonate with Cummings well.
Here in “The Wolf of Snow Hollow,” Cummings returns to local law enforcement, but in the manner of the supernatural. It’s a murder mystery, fit with gruesome special effects, bigger set pieces, and a larger ensemble. Cummings fires on all cylinders with this, and while it certainly is on a larger scale than his directorial debut, it still feels confined to the simplicity of his brand. A brand, I must say, that makes for a niche audience.
What I like about this film is also what I find to be its problem: it works to Cummings’ formula. The character he plays is very much in line with the one he portrayed in “Thunder Road.” He’s a brash cop with a family life in shambles. We get to see him go beserk on his police force, while waging war with an ex-wife and distant daughter. And while there are supporting characters we get to see take center stage, the plot heavily relies on Cummings’ deputy coming into his own. This leads to interesting, humorous, and a-typical moments from the filmmaker, but I would be lying if I said that his character didn’t feel separate from the tone every other character/story element lent to this picture. Regardless, his execution of this movie is quite unpredictable in its nature.
I enjoy his style. Though this one is not as funny as his previous film, “The Wolf of Snow Hollow” manages to tell a werewolf story in a different light. There were certain story choices I loved (like the reveal of this werewolf), and looking back on the picture, it does balance out its characters well. My biggest complaint really resides in its familiarity, as well as how it doesn’t keep me attached. The movie can wane, and the relationship between Cummings and his daughter is not as strong as it was in “Thunder Road.” I enjoyed the father-son dynamic in this one (with the late Robert Forster), but even that felt shy of development. The way Cummings progresses a story isn’t conventional; it’s good, but can leave certain elements to be desired (he chooses style over substance a majority of the time).
Overall, “The Wolf of Snow Hollow” is an interesting second outing for Cummings. It tells the werewolf story in a unique, different way, but can’t seem to separate itself from Cummings’ check list items from “Thunder Road.” I prefer that flick over this one, though I give the filmmaker credit for making an entertaining venture. If you like his style, and are looking for something different to watch this spooky season, check this one out. FINAL SCORE: 73%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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