Wednesday, 10 June 2015

WolfCop (CA, 2014)

























I had the silly idea that this movie could be a follow up to the 'Teen Wolf' movies, I mean if you think about it, it could be. We follow Scott Howard as a grown-up now with a career in the police force of some small local town. He's a bit of a wash-up, has kinda fallen by the wayside a bit, things didn't go the way he intended, and now he patrols his beat...whilst tearing up the odd criminal. Hey it could happen, never say never these days folks. But anyway this is actually a low budget, cheesy, grimy, horror thriller that parodies and homages those old cheesy, grimy horror flicks of the 80's (God bless em').

The movie follows the current modern trend of recreating those glorious old hammy 80's flicks, such as the Machete franchise,'The Guest', the Sin City franchise, the Hot Tub Time Machine franchise and the recent 'Kung Fury'. Indeed just by looking at the movies wonderful hand drawn poster you can clearly see what they are going for, its very old school and kinda looks similar to poster art for 'Vamp' (1986). You know what you're gonna get here, no excuses, no playing dumb, you know, the movie knows.

OK so the plot kinda disappointed me, I was kinda expecting some kind of rip roaring wolf cop vs a gang of ruthless thugs scenario, 'Robocop' style. But what actually happens is this regular, alcoholic, useless cop gets called out to investigate some odd goings on in the woods. He is set upon by occultists who proceed to turn him into a werewolf (lame, he should have been bitten or born a lycan), unbeknownst to him. By that I mean they apparently curse him with their powers and some blood letting ceremony which we see in flashbacks. From this point on our slobby cop slowly discovers his powers and eventually turns into a big bad wolf, now the actions kicks in right? errr not really.



You see the plot has this strong supernatural element to it where by a group of shape-shifting lizard creatures (some townsfolk in disguise), want to sacrifice the werewolf so they can use the blood to strengthen their powers and continue doing what they're doing...which appears to be simply running a dead-end town. Here lies my problem with this movie, it doesn't feel like a badass werewolf flick, it feels like a silly TV movie or feature length episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of course a supernatural element is a given down to the werewolf inclusion, but the whole lizard shape-shifting idea is so utterly crap, it spoilt it...for me anyway. I really wanted to see a werewolf cop wiping out a nasty gang of hoodlums, the kind of hoodlums you really wanna see get killed off. Sure it would have been cliched and unoriginal but I think this type of idea needs that simple plot direction. I know werewolves are unrealistic but you could kinda believe, lizard people that shape-shift on the other hand, forget it.

Anyway we're all here for the werewolf so lets do this thing, the transformation and appearance. Well for the transformation the team behind this film have chosen the 'Van Helsing' route, and by that I mean the male in question appears to rip off his human skin to show the werewolf bursting from within him. He basically sheds his human skin to reveal his werewolf form. Personally I don't like this idea (didn't in 'Van Helsing' either), it begs the question...for the creature to transform back into a human, does the human form grow and burst from within the werewolf? ripping/shedding the werewolf skin off as when transforming from human into werewolf. How does the bodies skin grow back so flawlessly? wouldn't his face/body show signs of such an extreme form of transformation? I just don't see how it would work over and over, constantly transforming in that way. I don't understand why they didn't use the old fashioned method of simply having the human form painfully transform via extremely rapid bone/body mutation and growth. I guess this way is a good excuse for lots of gore huh, but I can't deny its all handled very well in that glorious 80's throwback style (think 'The Howling' meets 'An American Werewolf in London').

I should really add that the movies money shot, or claim to fame, must be the fact that its the penis that starts to transform first. Yes that's right, the first body part to sprout hair and enlarge rapidly is the cops cock, whilst he's having a pee. Yes you do see his cock, or at least a fake stunt cock, and yes you do see it transform. Its...original I'll give it that, most definitely a first for me.

The actual final appearance for the werewolf is a mixed bag also. Don't get me wrong I fully understand this isn't a mega-budget movie and they have done well no doubt. I just think maybe a little more work on the face was required, it lacked a true wolf-like punch as you could still see the actors human face beneath in parts. The eyes were great, the hair looked great too, nice ears and claws etc...but the mouth, teeth and around the nose, cheeks and forehead just lacked something if you ask me. The creature had good bulk to it though, it looked tough and strong.

The blood and gore effects throughout the movie are of course its highlight with plenty of face-slashing, head ripping, general dismemberment and gushing blood. When Wolf Cop attacks not one wall is left clean, hell I don't even need to talk about it much as I'm sure you can guess what happens. I will say there is one moment when Wolf Cop actually does rip a bad guys face off just leaving his skull. The unfortunate baddie is still alive and proceeds to run around screaming through his skull face, it makes you wince but the director turns it into a macabre moment of humour. Yes the movie is in fact a dark black comedy of sorts, its not meant to be an out n out horror or taken seriously (lizard people a dead give away there). There are many funny little touches of gallows humour throughout which at times do work. Such as the freshly ripped-off face of the bad guy landing on the car windscreen of Wolf Cop's partner, with him freaking out about inside and trying to get it off with the wipers.



There are admittedly lots of amusing moments with clever use of visuals and dialog. For example a gang of store robbers are all wearing pig masks, The Three Little Pigs children's tale, the big bad wolf. Plus we hear the odd idiom or pun spoken such as 'crying wolf', 'the fuzz' etc...and it was strangely cool to see an alcoholic deadbeat werewolf that downs bottles of anything along with junk food. In fact we learn that alcohol has somehow made Wolf Cop stronger than previous werewolves, not sure how or why, don't question it eh. Alas along with the cool there was some other fluff I didn't like such as the wolfmobile. Wolf Cop actually has time in between killing bad guys to mod his cop car into some hideous Mad Max-esque grunge machine. Thing is it doesn't sound as cool as you're thinking, it looked awful! I also don't get why, at first, when Wolf Cop encounters bad guys with guns he hides from them, yet later on he is taking bullets all over the place, I guess he was unsure about being hit in the beginning. Plus, the less said about the werewolf sex scene the better, did that woman actually give a werewolf a blowjob?!

The cast is good with unknown newbie Leo Fafard really nailing the hairy werewolf image (just one of those guys with plenty of solid facial hair), he is also limited on dialog but it sorta works. Johnathan Cherry is the local cliched goofball type that catches on very quickly to what's going on. Amy Matysio plays another fellow cop and puts in a decent performance whilst also being cute as a button (looks a bit like Carrie-Anne Moss). Jesse Moss is the baddie gang leader who doesn't really do very much at all accept punish his own men severely, and Sarah Lind is the obligatory sexy bartender.

So its not hard to workout this was never meant to be anything but a good time, a parody, virtually a fanboy/fan made flick. It has its up and downs, some things I liked, some things I didn't. On the whole it does come across as jumbled and unexplained, there is a lot of creativity and ideas jammed into this story but with too many loose ends. I think they may have gotten carried away and gone too far with the whole thing, they should of made it longer than 1 hour and 20 minutes!! Its pretty much a gimmick really, but clearly its had much time, love and attention lavished upon it with some excellent results. Personally I think its great to see some good old fashioned practical skills on a limited budget, utilised to great affect (some lovely sleazy lighting effects too I might add). Still...I wanted to love this, but I have to admit its not as good as I had hoped for. I get it, I get what the movie is aiming for, I just wish it hadn't gone down that specific route so much.

6/10