The “Wolf of Snow Hollow” is the second feature from writer, director, and actor Jim Cummings. In similar fashion to his debut film “Thunder Road” (2018) Cummings plays essentially the same character; a fast-talking, nightmarish divorced cop trying to solve a mystery. This time around he’s a former alcoholic searching for what or who is killing women in the sleepy town of Snow Hollow, Utah.
Set against a snow dusted backdrop beautifully captured by DP Natalie Kingston we’re immediately catapulted into John Marshall’s (Cumming’s) bizarre mind.There’s a lot going on in this film, not only is there a killer on the loose, but there’s multiple intersecting storylines. Including John’s rocky relationship with his ailing father (the late Robert Forester) and his toxic parenting style with his 17-year-old daughter Jenna (Chloe East.)
Although Cummings is the lead, he interestingly shares the screen quite a bit with fellow female officer Julia Robson (Riki Lindhome) who, in true “Fargo” (1996) fashion, was very well-suited at solving the crime. The two played off each other quite well, a unique pairing I wouldn’t expect to work but it did. Cummings’ acting style is interesting; his good looks would lead you to believe he would only be capable of showing surface emotions, but there’s a lot bubbling underneath the handsome exterior and he really breaks the pretty boy stereotype.
His character was equally tragic and funny and reminded me of an aggressive, alcoholic version of Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) from “Scream” (1996) so much so that I kept wishing It were set in the mid-90’s.Throughout the piece Cummings pokes fun at toxic masculinity. There were some incredibly funny one-liners “have women had to put up with this shit since the Middle Ages?” Psst, yes we have.
I appreciated the film’s very forward thinking in terms of the way it played with gender stereotypes, with the focus here on something that used to be incredibly taboo; a woman in the police force.There was good build and suspense throughout that really made me wonder if the killer was human or wolf, but also made me wish that it were the film’s main focus.
Whereas the opening scene started off as a traditional horror film, which hottie is going to die first, the scenes thereafter sort of melded into something I didn’t expect and didn’t really follow any sort of formula. It was almost like there were two different plots. John Marshall as a struggling alcoholic suffering from childhood trauma, and John Marshall as a funny, jerky, and somewhat inept cop trying to solve a serious crime.
I don’t know if the confusion came just from the editing, or if this was an actual intended mix of styles and sub-plots. Either way it was a bit all over the place. Generally speaking, editing was definitely not the invisible art here.
It was too aggressive to the point where it became jarring, the film was also sadly over scored to the point where I lost what was going on in multiple scenes. There were just so many cuts and so much music that the plot got a bit lost.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy this film, I did; and everything it said and was trying to say. It was a little Coen Brothers, a little “Scream” (1996,) and a little “Split” (2016) all mixed into one, and I can almost see this being made into a TV series that follows a different murder each episode. Maybe for that version the wolf comes out at each full moon.
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