The Wolf of Snow Hollow ★★★★

"I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind standing up to your full height for me."

That was much better than I expected—then again I went in blind. Director, writer, and lead actor Jim Cummings is really carving out a little indie idiosyncratic name for himself with some quirky dramedies. I have yet to see Thunder Road, but I've only heard grand things for Cummings in front and behind the camera; his character here and from what I assume in his prior film make me think that he just likes playing almost obnoxious (in a surprisingly digestible) troubled cops with familial issues and alcoholism? I think Cummings really pulls off his persona (oddly at times reminiscent of Casey Affleck with his intonation and line delivery), which would absolutely not work if it came from many other actors. Wolf of Snow Hollow has a quaint little cast with just a few names—most notably Robert Forster in his final film—crisp icy cinematography, fluid direction, and a definite Fargo (series more so than film) meets A24 vibe going for it. Oh and did I mention how it strangely yet successfully makes its werewolf angle work?

Every supporting character gets their little intricacies and unique bits despite not getting any background nor fully-fledged time to develop. The isolated snowbound setting also really does it for me, paired with aspects of a whodunnit, some Zodiac/Prisoners close-quarter tension building, and a fair share of Coens/Saulnier meets dark and quirky humour all make for something that oddly flows effortlessly. The only aspects I have some gripes with are in the structure of the film, and how certain characters are used to very limited and spaced out capacities. At 85min (5 being a lengthy mood-setting establishing intro) this is surely a fresh and brisk genre-fluid best of 2020. 

I'd also like to say how this made me think of Hold the Dark, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and Shimmer Lake. I can absolutely see Cummings eventually getting himself a miniseries or a shot at directing something along the lines of True Detective or the aforementioned Fargo. Cummings has an impressive grip on his energetic direction and seems to be extremely comfortable in dabbling within a handful of genres: in this case primarily drama, crime, horror, and comedy. 

PS: Despite really enjoying this sophomore feature effort, don't think I'll forget how you unfollowed me and others on Film Twitter after Thunder Road made you a name, Jimothy. I won't. Good work though.


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