Fantasia Fest WOLFCOP Review: See There’s This Wolf. And He’s Also A Cop.

(he's a wolfcop.)

Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) is a deputy in a Saskatchewan sheriff's office. He's also a drunk and a layabout. He frequently blacks out and has no memory of his activities the night before, which makes him a prime candidate for some good, old-fashioned lycanthropy. When Lou realizes he's got the curse, he decides to do some actual police work for the first time in his career. Between breaking up robbery rings (consisting of three guys wearing little pig masks) and blowing up meth labs, Lou discovers that there's a sinister conspiracy that lurks deep beneath his seemingly sleepy little town.

WolfCop, for all of its silliness and its snort-worthy title, is not that lamest of things: the intentionally bad movie. It's more Troma than Sharknado - writer/director Lowell Dean clearly cares about the film, and he takes a ridiculous concept and puts a lot of love into it. WolfCop boasts some pretty gnarly practical effects, and the transformation, once it hits (too long into the film), is bitchin'*. There's a real mythology to WolfCop, and yes, the film is played for laughs, but it's because Dean wrote real jokes for the movie ("I'm the fuzz" comes to mind), not because he lazily expects you to be satisfied with laughing at it.

It matters, too, that Fafard has a way about him. He's grumbly and rumpled and grizzly; he's a bit of a charming mess. And though few of the performances outright shine, they all have a quality. My favorite is Amy Matysio as Fafard's coworker Tina, who has earned the title of employee of the month every month for years at the sheriff's office. She's tough and smart and really cute, a terrific contrast to Lou's slovenly incompetence. The sheriff (the great Aidan Devine), the mayor (the also great Corinne Conley), a bartender with eyes for Lou (Sarah Lind), Lou's sidekick Willie (Jonathan Cherry) - they're all fun and watchable, and they all take their performances seriously. They all want to be here, and they all treat it like a real movie. That makes a difference.

WolfCop certainly borrows a bit from James Gunn's Slither (which was filmed in British Columbia), and I guess that makes sense with the Troma angle, but the sheriff's office and the annual Drink and Shoot (much like Slither's Deer Cheer) put me in mind of that film in a way that doesn't feel like an accident. Dean intro'd the film, telling the crowd that it's "a real Saskatchewan story" - blood and booze and boobs. Is that a Saskatchewan thing? I don't know, but Dean's regional pride is evident in WolfCop, in the often lovely landscapes and one memorable crane shot as WolfCop drives his newly tricked out police cruiser down a winding country road.

WolfCop could be tighter, more focused, and the big action climax - lit by an eclipse - is sloppily filmed and edited, but those are some pretty small complaints when we're talking about a movie featuring a werewolf cop. Sure, there's one note to the film, but I like that note. It's funny, it's got a real script, all of the practical effects are amazingly, wonderfully gross. It played beautifully with a midnight crowd at Fantasia Fest - it's what you want out of a midnight movie, goofy and wild and super weird. A tag at the end of the film promises that WolfCop 2 will hit in 2015, and I liked the first enough that I will definitely be there.

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*SPOILER:

Guys, this transformation starts dick-first, as Lou is drunkenly pissing in a bar toilet. We actually see his dick swell, transform and eventually explode into WolfCop's dick. THAT IS AMAZING.

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