Sometimes, you watch a movie just to have fellowship with friends or family, to spend some time with your significant other, or to relax after a long week. The film itself? Really, it could YouTube videos of dogs chasing Frisbees. These are “Friday Night Movies” – fun and only as thought-provoking as you want them to be.
Wolfcop is indeed as thought-provoking as the viewer wants. On the surface, it is a very simple plot: lazy, alcoholic cop (perhaps the laziness is just a result of his severe addiction?) is turned into a werewolf and discovers that his small town holds dark supernatural secrets. He takes on the criminal establishment and… well, survives to fight another day. Really, this almost seems like the pilot episode of a television series rather than a feature film. The acting and effects are very good – if parts of the film feel cheesy, it is because the filmmakers intend them to be so. We are supposed to be laughing, not jumping out of our seats in terror. This film is like a stand-up comic – we are taken along for a predictable routine with new twists on old punchlines, and we laugh just the same, ever still waiting for the comic to say “You guys have been great, thank you very much and have a good night!”
That said, comics often take on serious issues, and Wolfcop takes on a few serious issues of its own. Yes, they make light of them, but they are still serious. Namely:
1. Our protagonist is a serious alcoholic. His addiction is hardly funny until he gets turned into a werewolf. Up until that point, he could barely function, was unable to take his job seriously, and was the laughingstock of the town. He had no self-respect. Basically, this film illustrates just how severe alcoholism can become – if the werewolf is taken metaphorically as well as literally, the cop is portrayed as no longer even being human and seen instead as an impulsive, destructive monster.
2. The town of Woodhaven, where the story takes place, has a high crime rate and a lacksidaisical law enforcement. The only ones trying to do anything to change things are either eliminated or kept “under control” and gaslighted. Many communities indeed have these kind of problems and rarely does anyone stand up to what seem like insurmountable odds (face it – the supernatural does seem rather insurmountable) to fix them. When they do, they face demons so powerful that most of the time, their efforts are noble but fruitless.
Our heroes are indeed those who end up embracing their inner demons and deciding to do their duty and beyond. It is no mere cutesy title – “Wolfcop” is exactly who our protagonist is.
It is rather too bad that this is not a television pilot, as I would love to see the storylines that some decent television writers could come up with for our leads.
Pass the popcorn!