To say Wolfcop is howlingly bad would suggest that (a) the film is terrible and (b) Lowell Dean’s horror film has a sense of humour. Only one of those is correct.
Wolfcop has a concept – that’s all. That concept being a police officer who transforms into a grotesque werewolf, yet still protects the streets. It’s a character that has trouble stimulating a five-minute conversation around the water cooler let alone having the stamina to carry a feature film. The film has the ill-fit conception of two people joking around about making a dumb movie and having a third party call their bluff.
Let’s draw from Wolfcop’s obvious influence and fellow Canadian buddy, Hobo with a Shotgun. Jason Eisener took no prisoners when it came to making a goofy throwback to the days of VHS thrillers with schlocky premises. Hobo with a Shotgun is immensely entertaining with its trashy style flooded with pastel colours along with its cackling cast. What makes Eisener’s film soar is that it has a heart behind its lead character. The film pushes the envelope, yet still wins us over with its perspective of humanity.
Wolfcop could’ve followed in the same footprints, but Lowell Dean plays his material with a dead-set straight face. The idea of a law-abiding werewolf is funny, but the filmmaker (who also wrote the flaccid screenplay) inserts that potential in a story so convoluted to a point where the inspired content is smothered by everyone’s hesitance to let loose.
The only time Dean strives for some sort of audience investment is when the comic relief is flowing. When Officer Lou Garou (played by Leo Fafard) turns into the hairy Wolfcop, he allows an annoying small-town schlub (Willie played by Jonathan Cherry) to document his transformation and keep a watch on him. Willie cracks wise as Lou acts out, and it’s the most contrived type of comedic writing you can imagine. Case in point: Lou’s hungry, so he grabs some nearby doughnuts. Willie – boorishly loud – draws attention to the stereotype.
When Dean lets his jokes rest, he directs his focus to a crime story with inconsistent continuity featuring tiresome hijinks from generic villains. There’s some odd attempts at humour during an excruciatingly long sex scene between Wolfcop and a busty flirt, but it’s more uncomfortable than anything. Maybe the scene plays better to a sold-out crowd who have had one-too-many.
But, here we are again facing the Midnight Madness predicament. Does Wolfcop get a passing grade if its been solely made to fulfil the needs of a tipsy Midnight Madness crowd? No. But even on those terms, audiences will find themselves growing bored as Dean plops Lou Garou in fruitless situations. The filmmaker expects – and demands – his crowd to grow interested after each “mysterious death”. That isn’t enjoyable to the average movie goer who is expecting a rollicking ride from Wolfcop.
The audience can’t invest in the shabby make-up effects, they can’t connect to the flat performances, and they can’t hook on to the derivative twists and turns. As a disappointed viewer, I longed to watch Hobo with a Shotgun. I also wished I was reading a book I hadn’t read, taking my dog for a walk, trying new food, taking a nap, and taking my dog on another walk. When you watch Wolfcop, you wish you were doing practically anything else.