The Ever-so Difficult Blend of Comedy and Horror...Done Right.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow, Jim Cummings' follow up to his indie hit Thunder Road, establishes itself right away as something that doesn't take itself entirely too seriously. And that only works in its favor. The general premise is that something (or someone?) is terrorizing the people of Snow Hollow, and it's theorized that something is a werewolf. Jim Cummings, as with Thunder Road, plays the lead in this as an alcoholic police officer who battles his demons, a strained relationship with his father, and this case as pressure comes down from the department and the town to solve this case before more people lose their lives to this vicious animal. The film is just a delight from start to finish, featuring an absolutely gorgeous locale, some familiar and unfamiliar faces.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow finds Jim Cummings at his best once again with another committed performance. As I mentioned, since there are some familiar faces in this one, we find that there are more expectedly great performances all around from the supporting cast. Some of these familiar faces include Robert Forster (in his last performance, sadly), Riki Lindhome, Jimmy Tatro, Chloe East, Marshall Allman, and Annie Hamilton. The film by the end was dedicated to the late, great Robert Forster. Similar to Thunder Road, The Wolf of Snow Hollow once again was written, directed, starring, and produced by Jim Cummings, the jack of all artistic trades. This low budget genre film was a delicious blend of comedy, horror, and thriller elements by the end, with a touch of mystery. I felt the film deftly blended these genres and also subverted them in some ways. It takes some of the tropes of the genre and pokes fun at them, which I can always appreciate.
The film also featured some cool editing tricks, techniques, and transitions that I had not seen done before, or if I had, not done quite in this way. The films is very well shot and, as I mentioned before, the cinematography showcases some wonderfully beautiful locations and set pieces. Some films tend to crumble on a low budget, but this manages to look great even despite that. The film handles an interesting balance of being in a small town while also having the broad scope of something huge with the mountains surrounding the seemingly small town and the scope of the investigation. The assured writing and direction from Cummings is also apparent in this film, as I knew he was capable of great things from his work in Thunder Road. It's a smart, funny satire/farce of the horror/thriller genre and crime mystery/police procedural type films. Needless to say, Cummings knows exactly what he's doing, and he executes it well.
With this low budget, Cummings has to work with mostly practical effects. However, there are a couple scenes when computer generated images (CGI) must be used. And I have to say it's impressive considering the low budget. Although, granted, most of the time, camera tricks, disguising, and blocking had to be utilized more often than bearing the entire image on screen. That comes with the territory of indie filmmaking. That said, it's a testament to the filmmaking and storytelling that the film manages to hold your attention throughout and entertains on very nearly every level. To build on that, there is some very interesting character work going on in this story as well. Cummings' writing allows for some great moments for his character and he showcases his acting talent once again, as we all knew he was more than capable from his aforementioned dramatic work. Even though the film does not take itself all that seriously, Cummings injected timely themes in an organic way while also maintaining its fun tone. There is great dialogue throughout and his jokes hit more often than they don't. Something that frustrated me was that the twist was right in front of my face and I didn't see it. It was done quite nicely and is another added laurel for Cummings in the writing and direction department.
As stated, The Wolf of Snow Hollow effectively blends comedy and horror and maintains a light tone, even in darkness. This choice was the right one and done well. Jim Cummings once again shows the indie world his writing, directing, acting, and producing chops; but this time, moving into the multi-genre world. Between all the silly moments, you'll find there is a heart at the center of this film that does strike a chord, if you let it. There are only a few times when the low budget does show, but this does not work too much against it as Cummings shows us what he can do without an extravagant budget that many in Hollywood enjoy on a regular basis. With a great twist that only serves the story well, Cummings has crafted a funny, entertaining, and wholly enjoyable blend of all the best worlds of each genre he threw in the pot.
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The Wolf of Snow Hollow can be rented on YouTube, Google Play Movies, Vudu and Amazon Prime Video.