I really wanted to love WolfCop. A low-budget, crowd-funded Canadian indie horror comedy about a werewolf cop is just begging for my adoration, especially considering the glowing reviews I’ve given titles like Zombeavers and Monster Brawl. As James pointed out earlier today in his review of Housebound, “Horror comedies are always a high wire act.” It’s difficult to strike the right balance between terror & humor and WolfCop is all the more frustrating because it’s so close to getting the formula right I can smell it even without superhuman/canine scent. The film’s premise is killer; its bodily gore is impressive; there’s a plot-summarizing rap song in the closing credits (which is always a plus no matter what anyone tells you); there’s just something essential missing in the final product.
If I had to pinpoint exactly what’s lacking in WolfCop, my best guess is that there just isn’t enough werewolf policing. The origin story segment of the film lasts entirely too long as we follow Sergeant Lou Garou through a series of wicked hangovers that eventually lead him to awaking a changed man. Lou struggles to suppress his newly found werewolf form in long stretches, which is fine for a man who’s trying to survive, but not too exciting for the audience that follows him. Becoming a werewolf does little to curb Lou’s drinking, but it does make him a better cop, but initially only in the sense that he starts doing paperwork & researching the history of the occult in the town he polices. By the time Lou is busting up meth labs & preventing armed robberies in werewolf form AND a police uniform, which is essentially the main draw of the film, the runtime is more than halfway over. There are some great exchanges in those segments, like when a gang member asks “What the fuck are you?” and the WolfCop responds “The fuzz,” but they’re honestly too few too late and soon fade in favor of a story about an evil cult that doesn’t really amount to much more than a distraction.
There are certainly more than a few glimpses of brilliance in WolfCop. The practical effects in the gore are the most winning element in play, featuring gross-out bodily horror like close-ups of hair growing like porcupine quills, several disembodied faces, pentagrams carved into bellies, a switchblade piercing an eyeball and the most blood I’ve ever seen pass through a urethra in a particularly brutal scene where Lou transforms into a werewolf dick-first. There’s also a hilarious sex scene seemingly inspired by The Room that marks the first time I’ve ever seen a werewolf go down on a bartender or enjoy a post-coital cigarette. A couple of these moments are spoiled by some winking-at-the-camera gimmicks (like the much-hated-by-me CGI blood spatter on the camera lens effect), but for the most part the main problem is that they’re isolated highlights and the film that surrounds them is kind of a bore. I get the feeling that WolfCop works better as a highlight reel than a feature, seemingly peaking with its trailer or its poster. That’s not even that big of a deal, though. The trailer & the poster are honestly true works of art at a level a lot of horror comedies fail to reach even in advertising. There’s so much promise & potential in WolfCop as a concept, that even though I wasn’t completely sold on the first installment, the post-credits promise of a WolfCop II arriving in 2015 still excited me. My hope is that now that the origin story has been taken care of, we can get straight to the business of werewolf policing. Give the people what they want. Our demands are simple: we merely want more wolf-cop in our WolfCop.