Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
In The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) terror grips a small mountain town as bodies are discovered after each full moon. Losing sleep, raising a teenage daughter, and caring for his ailing father, Officer Marshall struggles to remind himself there’s no such thing as werewolves.
I was super excited for this one when I saw the trailer. Then again, I’m always excited for movies starring my favourite mythical monster, but finding good ones are not easy. And nine times out of ten, I’m forced to just rewatch the classics like Silver Bullet and Dog Soldiers. The Wolf of Snow Hollow probably isn’t going to end up in my favourites list, but that doesn’t mean it’s a total washout. So let’s break it down.
Here’s the good news – the film looks really good. From the opening overhead shot of the beautiful snowy vistas to the very well shot night scenes, Snow Hollow hits all the right technical notes. As with any monster movie it’s all about how good said monster looks, and with a small budget it’s very easy to make a werewolf look ridiculous. Director Jim Cummings makes the smart choice of shooting our lycan using a lot of moonlight and shadows. It works and it made for a very menacing visual. Another check in the plus column was the story. I won’t spoil it for anyone but the mystery is well constructed, with our hapless sheriff losing his mind trying to stop the killings. Is it a monster? Is it a man? It’s a small town with a lot of suspects and it does manage to keep you guessing all the way to the end.
Sadly, the negatives here are hard to ignore, because they play such a big part in the overall quality of the film. First there’s the tone. The movie seems like it’s trying to go for a dark comedy vibe, but then it swings hard right and tries to stick its paw squarely in horror territory. Then there’s the acting, or specifically the performance by our lead, wannabe Sheriff John Marshall, played by none other than the director himself, Jim Cummings.
I HATED this guy! I spent the entire movie cussing a stream at my television because I hated him so much. He was unlikeable, irritating and flat out mean. His emotions were all over the place. Again, I think he’s going for dark humor here, but his acting made all of his lines come across as either overly aggressive or really childish. I wouldn’t follow this man into a Starbucks, much less investigate a case with him. It made viewing painful and a lot less enjoyable than it could’ve been.
If the director had been smart enough (and dare I say) humble enough to put someone else as the lead, we could’ve had a much better movie. Ironically, he had his hero RIGHT THERE with the very talented Riki Lindhome (The Big Bang Theory/Knives Out) as Officer Julia Robson. She’s easily the smartest and most grounded person in the movie, and as an actress she’s more than equipped to take on the leadership role. Talk about a missed opportunity.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow has some solid visuals, a well-crafted mystery and good pacing, but rushed line deliveries, an uneven tone and a very unlikeable lead character keeps it from being the fun fantastic werewolf movie I wanted it to be. Oh well, guess I could always rewatch The Howling one more time.
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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