A police officer struggles to solve a string of murders in a small mountain town.
Writing, directing and starring in your own movie is no easy task. However, Jim Cummings seems to be onto something here because his newest movie, “The Wolf of Snow Hollow,” is a brilliantly crafted murder mystery that puts a new twist on the ‘cops solving murders’ narrative.
How often do cops actually solve murder cases? Does toxic masculinity get in the way of doing what you’re supposed to be? This and many other controversial questions are the focal point of “The Wolf in Snow Hollow.” With a timely release to streaming services, this film brings comedy as well as thriller and horror to your home screens.
The movie begins with a couple on a romantic getaway. After a brief altercation in a bar, the couple heads back to their cabin. When the boyfriend goes into the bathroom to clean up, he hears a shrieking noise and finds his girlfriend laying on the snowy ground, ripped apart.
Meanwhile, officer John Marshall is attending an AA meeting. He finds out about the murder not too long after and takes the lead on the investigation. After a couple of days go by with a murderer yet to be apprehended, civil unrest stirs the town and people start fearing for their lives. This puts extra pressure on John to solve the case while he struggles with alcoholism, his failing marriage and a rebellious daughter.
Comedy and horror are two genres that usually don’t mix. Ordinarily, the comedy gets in the way of the chilling atmosphere. The comedy in this film is essentially dark humor. Most of the time, you’re laughing at the main character’s misery while sympathizing with him at the same time. It is through this dark humor that the audience is able to learn more about the main character and recognize his flaws as our main protagonist. This approach can be found in similar movies like “Fargo” and “Office Space,” where the humor is driven by cause and effect and the subsequent pain of characters.
The tense moments are never lost in this movie either. As the film progresses, officer John Marshall’s blight begins to worsen as the town grows increasingly restless with a murderer on the loose. This generates tension and leaves the audience questioning who is going to be murdered next.
Stacked on top of this tension are beautiful shots by cinematographer Natalie Kingston. Kingston makes great use of the setting, composition and shows off the best parts of the town with each interior surrounding.
While the humorous elements did not muddle the simultaneous elements of horror, the movie stressed me out more than it scared me, which tends to put off certain viewers who are looking for a more traditional horror experience.
The acting itself leaves a bit to be desired as well. Officer Marshall’s disposition is emotional and stressed out. However, there are moments where Cummings is clearly overreacting and it comes off as awkward. Moments like this left me unconvinced and confused as to whether I should be laughing or not. While it’s possible these moments are intended to be a style of dark humor, the clumsy acting makes it difficult to properly identify.
The themes in the movie itself are unclear. It clearly takes a stance that calls on cops needing to do better, however, this theme quickly moves onto something which, for the sake of spoilers I won’t say, conflicts with this overall theme. So, the thematic elements are sometimes left up to the audience to interpret.
If you’re looking for a more traditional horror movie experience that takes itself seriously, then perhaps you should look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a movie that is beautifully filmed and you’re open to something new, then I would suggest checking this one out.
“The Wolf of Snow Hollow” is now available to purchase on multiple streaming platforms.
Title: The Wolf of Snow Hollow
Star Rating: Four stars out of five
- Comedy elements don’t get in the way of the horror elements
- Has very tense and thrilling moments
- Gorgeous shots utilize the setting very well
- Parts of the plot falls into several cliches
- Acting is awkward at times
- Themes are unclear