Exclusive FrightFest Review: WOLFCOP (2014){0}

The potential “problem” with films like WolfCop is not that they’re ridiculous; it’s that they often celebrate being ridiculous, which is sort of lazy way to tell a joke. (And I put “problem” in quotation marks because that’s my issue with broad and silly “grindhouse homage” movies, not necessarily yours.) Fortunately, the plainly ridiculous yet admirably stone-faced WolfCop earns a place alongside Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, Jason Eisener’s Hobo With a Shotgun, and Astron-6’s Manborg. These are silly genre films made by (and for) people who take silly genre films very seriously.

Writer / director Lowell Dean takes a premise that sounds like a drunkard’s spin on Robocop (“…only instead of ROBOTIC cop… (hic)… he’s a WEREWOLF policeman…!”) and then refuses to wink at the audience more than that. Yes, WolfCop is the story of a sleazy policeman who becomes a werewolf during the full moon and promptly heads out to tear brains and spines and eyeballs out of various (and even sleazier) villains. No more or less “ridiculous” than Robocop‘s premise, if we’re being fair, but while Robocop had a great script, a brilliant director, and a whole lot of money, WolfCop has… well, it has a lot of love and respect for movies like Robocop (and The Howling). That’s always a good place to start. Mr. Dean fills in the blank spots with amusing archetypes, wild action, and frequent quips – and he gets to the credits before the 80-minute mark You don’t need “test audiences” to know that that’s stuff movie geeks respect.

As gory, silly, and wacky as WolfCop gets (and boy does it), Dean and lead actor Leo Fafard seem to be playing the joke as “straight” as possible, which makes the movie feel like a 1988 New World Pictures production that somehow got locked in a vault and forgotten for 25 years. So while, yes, WolfCop features lycanthropic penises, half-baked tough-guy dialogue, and a metric ton of low-budget splatter effects, one never gets the impression that the filmmakers are A) winking at the audience, or B) treating their farce like it’s an actual joke. In some ways, WolfCop is the purest form of homage, because, let’s face it, we like to pretend we were all raised on The Godfather and The Shawhsank Redemption, but we weren’t. We were raised on movies exactly like Planet Terror, The Howling, Robocop, and WolfCop. So kudos to a very silly movie for offering me an 80-minute trip back to 1988. And a werewolf wiener transformation I’ll never be able to unsee.

Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg)

WOLFCOP is now out on DVD in the UK