Hollywood is fueled by inspirational stories centering around Outsiders who struck Gold through their sheer hard work and talent. Often directors and writers are able to satisfy their creative hunger as things are pretty much under their control for their piece of art (not including creative indifference with producers). Actors, in such perspective, have to rely on a director or writer to give him a piece, on which he can build his performance. To feed their creative starvation, some actors like Chaplin, Orson Welles directed themselves, and these are some marvelous stories. Modern cinema saw people like Nicholson, Stallone, Ben Affleck and others who did the same, and have written, directed and acted in their own movies. A new addition to this family is Jim Cummings who has written, directed and acted in one of my favorite films 2018, Thunder Road, and in 2020, he is back with another film, The Wolf of Snow Hollow made under the same blueprint.
Jim Cumming’s The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a horror comedy film that literally elevates the genre with incredible direction, performances and writing. It is not a generic horror/comedy flick like the Scary Movie, and encompasses much more sanity and realism. It is a movie that doesn’t go for laughs or horror as much as it highlights the nuances of an excellent script. Jim Cumming’s is a talent that is going to shine brighter and brighter with the coming years.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow begins with an incident that sets the tone and pursuit for further scenes. PJ and his girlfriend Brianne have rented a remote cottage in a snowy corner of the country, called Snow Hollow. While PJ plans to propose Brianne for marriage, a werewolf attacks her, outside the cottage and as PJ reaches there, all he finds are the pieces of her road, ripped apart.
Most of the officers who respond to the visual are surprised to see the crime scene, especially John Marshall (Jim Cummings). John is already dealing with his personal trouble and the arrival of a new serial killer in town is another nail in the coffin.
As John investigates the case further, the film reveals through a series of incidents that John is a recovering alcoholic with a sick father (Robert Forster), who also happens to be the town sheriff, and he has an ex-wife who hates John. Due to their marriage getting torn apart, John is endowed with duty to look after his teenage daughter, daughter (Chloe East) who finds John unstable and irresponsible.
In the official case, John is supported by Officer Julia Robson (Riki Lindhome) who is a quiet, confident partner, and the biggest asset to the case.
John tries his ass off to find clues in the serial killing, while all other officers link the death to an actual werewolf, while John believes that it’s an act of a madman. Thus, it creates a dis-balance of opinions between John and his colleagues at work, who wants to avoid the case, while John digs deep into it, and spoils his mental stability further, leading to alcohol abuse and anger issues.
The story marvelously balances between reality and fiction related to the killings, as every individual comes up with his own voodoo version related to Werewolf, while the kill rate in Snow Hollow keeps ascending.
Jim Cummings – A Powerhouse of Talent
To prove one’s metal, an Actor needs a strong script, and more importantly a director who can elevate the performance with his ace execution. When an actor handles the other two profiles as well, he is either going to become a jack of all trades and a master of none, or touch the standard of greatest film like The Citizen Kane (made by same actor-writer-director combo).
Jim Cummings with his work in Thunder Road, (if anyone remembers his film and performance, if not, do check it out) clearly hit some bells that were heard loud and clear by Hollywood Society. With The Wolf of Snow Hollow, he might now have been able to touch the same tangent, but has elevated his performance to another level. Cummings is getting better and better as an actor with each film coming on his way.
In The Wolf of Snow Hollow, Cummings writes several scenes of that portrays incompetent police force but not in a farcical way. Instead, he peculiarly captures how stressed, normal people bang their heads when they disagree about how to handle something unimaginable.He really focuses on what a complex case like Wolf of Snow Hollow would do to a flawed man like John, allowing him to become unlikable in many ways. John is not your average hero but an average guy pushed into a nightmare. Cummings could have taken an easy road as a screenwriter, showing a different version of John, as most generic films portray, but Cummings takes the bumpy road into the woods, that made all the difference.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is also more visually enhanced than a mediocre horror comedy film. The stunning cinematography gives the right amount of realistic touch to the frames and everything that looks inappropriate, is done for a reason. It is a low budget film but never really gives away the sense of it.
Jack Cummings’s performance is the core of the film, as he draws the audience to a flawed protagonist who learns his lessons through the medium of the story. As he evolves, we get attached to his journey, as it’s a remarkable thing to achieve.
A powerful endeavor by Jim Cummings along with the support of his marvelous team has crafted an equally great film. While, I still believe that Thunder Road is Cummings best work so far, and hope to see many complicated and layered characters on screen, portrayed by him, as he wants them to be. A kind of unsatisfied hunger is visible in Cumming’s act, and I am really hopeful that this desire will surely mould into one of the best performances by an actor who writes and directs as well. More power and respect to Jim Cummings.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is not a cliche horror comedy movie, but engulfs much more in it’s narrative. It comments on toxic masculinity, a common man’s struggle to create balance in work and personal life, and a person’s dependence on Alcohol when things go eery. John’s pursuit to segregate between myth and realism also amplifies the theme that underlines, “The Real Monsters are Always Human.”
The film is available on Video on Demand.
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