Spoilers don’t like snow.

Mixing comedy and horror is rather tricky. It’s a little too easy to go overboard with the laughs and end up with what basically is a comedy with horror relegated to a tacky background. I’m not saying those films don’t work, but they rarely bring any frights. A much harder task is to give it teeth and let comedy happen organically and situationally. This feature is an example on how to do this without just making it cheesy.

(Credit: Orion Classics)

The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) was written and directed by Jim Cummings. Officer John Marshall (Jim Cummings) is at the end of his rope. He’s a recovering alcoholic. His father, Sheriff Hadley (Robert Forster), is trying to ignore his health issues and refuses to retire. He’s supposed to be there for his daughter but he maintains a hostile relationship with his ex-wife. His partner, officer Julia Robson (Riki Lindhome) is usually there to cover for him. However, the small town of Snow Hollow is being terrified by the murders of young women from what appears to be some sort of rather large animal. Unable to help his father, alienating his teenage daughter and losing control of his fellow officers, John soon slips and starts drinking again as his personal life and the murder case appear to go from bad to worse.

If you haven’t seen Jim Cummings before, you’re in for a treat. The humour here is going to be an acquired taste, as it comes for personal drama and pain. That being said, it feels more natural and less rehearsed than your usual comedy skit. The horror is played straight, without any giving the audience any breaks. This allows you to be truly engaged in the characters’ fates. However, John Marshall, as brilliantly portrayed by Jim as he is, is very difficult to empathize with. I really wish filmmakers would stop making main characters into absentee parents thinking that’s somehow endearing.

One particular plus of the film is the way that every single side character is portrayed realistically enough to make you keep guessing their involvement. This means not only that everyone has a moment in the spotlight but that also we could be looking at a culprit and/or accomplice. Unlike other films, our main character John barely has time or focus enough to really figure it out. It’s Julia Robson doing most of the detective work and it’s nice to see Riki Lindhome showing her acting chops. The movie is dedicated to Robert Forster

Recommended with minor reservations. I feel Jim Cummings’ mix of comedy and drama requires an audience that can appreciate it, and it might fly above audiences used to cheap laugh skits. Still, the horror is pretty solid, and the acting is quite decent. Worth a watch.

That will do for now.