Puns are a lot more interesting than most people give them credit for. While they’re exceedingly easy to come up with and throw into literally every conversation ever, they’re much harder to actually pull off.
The title for the WolfCop trailer on YouTube (embedded below) is “Here comes the Fuzz.” You get it? Because they call cops “The Fuzz.” It’s like Hot Fuzz, except that name isn’t a pun. “Here comes the Fuzz” is an example of an acceptable pun. It’s fine, you might chuckle, but then you get on with your day. It doesn’t resonate. “Dirty Harry… Only Hairier,” the poster’s tagline (seen above), is a step in the right direction.
But the Fantasia description for WolfCop starts with the most brilliant phrase ever written by a human: “No one is above the claw.” And that is something else entirely. That is freaking hilarious, and 50% of why I watched WolfCop, a decision that was 100% the best thing I could have done with those 79 minutes.
[The Fantasia International Film Festival is currently taking place in Montreal through August 7th. As it begins to wind down, we’ll be reviewing some of the interesting things we saw there. For more information, head here. For all of our coverage, go here.]
Director: Lowell Dean
WolfCop is exactly what you want a movie called WolfCop to be. A cop is turned into a werewolf and he uses his newfound not-humanity for justice. Also, a bunch of other things happen, and he’s not really the WolfCop all that long. In fact, Lou Garou (yes, that‘s his name) is barely a cop at all. He’s really just an alcoholic who gets paid by the local government to get drunk and not do his job. (Which, all things considered, isn’t the worst gig.) There are shades of Hobo with a Shotgun in the opening scenes, where Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) goes around town paying exactly zero attention to the various misdeeds. Of course, his town is nowhere near as bad (or as colorfully lit), but a spark in my head shouted, “Go see Hobo With a Shotgun again!” as I was watching, and I mean that in a good way.
I only know so much about werewolf lore, but I’m reasonably sure that this lore isn’t particularly canon. There is only one werewolf, he doesn’t change from a bite, he doesn’t only change on a full moon (only around the full moon), and there’s something about the solar eclipse. Also, after the first day, he gets the hang of it and becomes WolfCop, a half-wolf/half-cop hybrid who mods himself a car and goes after the bad guys (doing more police work in one night than Lou Garou has done in his life).
Oh, and whenever he changes, it literally rips off his skin, leaving it lying around for people to find the next day. How it grows back post transformation is neither explained nor relevant. Worth noting: It rips off his skin penis first, and yes, you see that happen. You’ve been warned.
The rest of the plot is stupid enough that I wouldn’t feel bad about spoiling it but just interesting enough that I’m not going to. Not all of it makes sense, but it serves its purpose. At a lean 79 minutes, there’s no time for a scene to overstay its welcome. (Except for the sex scene, which is even worse than the penis splitting.) This is the origin story of a franchise that will probably never see a sequel, but it means that they jam pack a lot of things in there, and honestly much of it could have been fleshed out. I’d rather it be too short than too long, though, so it’s for the best.
It helps that the movie is absolutely hilarious. Sometimes it was the puns that got to me (who knew there were so many wolf-based police puns?), but most of the times it was the actually funny dialogue or the ridiculous scenarios. A casual glance shows that 67% of Rotten Tomatoes critics didn’t find WolfCop funny, which means that approximately 67% of Rotten Tomatoes critics have absolutely no sense of humor. Sure, we’ve seen this sort of pseudo-Grindhouse shlock before (Hobo with a Shotgun), but it was great then and it’s great now. Films like these and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (which shares an antagonist with WolfCop) are evidence of a pretty great horror-comedy scene up in America’s hat, and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.
WolfCop‘s biggest failing is the lack of oomph in its violence. This is a movie where a werewolf rips people limp from limb, spraying blood here, there, and everywhere… but it all feels so underwhelming; the problem is with the sound. You never realize how important certain aspects of filmmaking are until you’ve seen how shoddy implementation can hurt a film. Every sound effect in WolfCop, from tearing flesh to gunfire, is quiet. You see a rapid motion, but without the disgusting sound of breaking lettuce, you’re left confused until you see the limbs flying through the air.
With gunfire, you know immediately what’s happened, but when enormous rifles are quieter than James Bond’s silenced pistol, that’s a problem. It sounds like they’re playing with toys, and while toy guns are fine in some contexts, they don’t make for particularly intense action (see: I Declare War).
But sound issues aside, none of WolfCop‘s other oddities (like its legitimately-nonsensical plot) bothered me. And I think it all comes down to the runtime. Except during that horrifyingly long sex scene (it’s kind of like that extremely uncomfortable one in The Room, except in a prison and with more hair), there’s no time to stop and think about everything that’s wrong. And even if you were to stop and think about it, “Who cares?” is a completely legitimate answer. Because even if the stupidity doesn’t add to your enjoyment of the film (it added to mine), it shouldn’t take away from it. Then again, if you’re the kind of person who can’t handle stupidity in films, why did you click on a review for a movie called WolfCop?
Here’s how you know if you’re going to like this movie: Think back to my intro, and to that most beautiful of phrases: “No one is above the claw.” If that doesn’t excite you, then WolfCop has nothing for you. Also, you’re dead inside.