Jim Cummings’s The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a howling good time.
I only have two films to go on, but I honestly am not sure I have ever seen a filmmaker more gifted at juggling moments of subtle comedic levity and dramatic tension like actor Jim Cummings. The writer and director of one of 2018’s very best comedies, Thunder Road, his talents are on full-display in his new film, The Wolf of Snow Hollow. It’s a funny, thrilling horror delight that shows there may be a monster in all of us. It’s a howling good time.
Cummings stars as sheriff John Marshall, a deputy of the Snow Hollow police department. His father, Hadley (played by the late Robert Forrester), is the sheriff who is in poor health with a heart murmur. What does not help matters is bodies keep turning up every full-moon in the blustery, snow covered town. All the victims are women, torn to shreds, and bloody wolf prints are always left in the freshly fallen powder. As a result, the bodies mount, and the town gives into paranoia. Meanwhile, John struggles with the stress of the job with no end to the killings in sight.
Cummings wrote and directed Hollow, which blends a strange, but welcoming hybrid of subtle, deadpan humor and straight horror storytelling. Cummings plays characters whose own toxic masculinity is too much to bear. Like his Officer Arnaud in Thunder Road, Deputy Marshall is a mess, emotionally and mentally, bordering on a quagmire status. The humor acts as a distraction as the mystery unfolds. The script is nicely plotted as every character has a sign they may be the werewolf in question. Further, there are plenty of clues for almost every character that keeps the audience guessing.
There are two supporting performances worth mentioning. Riki Lindhome plays Julia Robson, a smart as a whip deputy who acts as the buffer between not only Marshall and his staff, but the town as well. The Garfunkel and Oats star has been a sitcom supporting veteran for years. She breaks out here. She matches Cummings’ wit and comic timing flawlessly. Then there is a Robert Forrester, the Oscar-nominated star of Jackie Brown who passed away this past year and who the film is dedicated to. He is a crusty screen presence with just enough comic sensibility with Cummings to compliment the film perfectly.
I wrote previously that I wonder what Jim Cummings would come up with next after his freshman feature. The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a near perfect horror comedy. He is a master of painfully funny and awkward moments. It’s a rare, unique blend. It’s proof that a good story doesn’t have to groundbreaking to be entertaining or effective. Tell a good story in an entertaining, fresh way. That’s all we ask.
It makes you wonder what he will come up with next.