A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a gory horror-comedy about a small-town sheriff named John Marshall (Jim Cummings, who also wrote and directed) who's trying to solve a series of murders that seem to happen only during a full moon. It's got lots of graphic violence, including shootings/murders and blood spurts. Viewers see photos of mutilated body parts (arms, breasts, feet) and a man burning a naked body in a bonfire (the bare bottom is seen). A woman is murdered while her 3-year-old daughter is in the car (it's later implied that the child was also killed), and there are graphic descriptions of what happened to murder victims' bodies, such as a woman's vagina being removed from her body. You can also expect lots of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "damn it," "a--hole," and more), yelling, and a character pulling their own tooth out, with some blood. John is recovering from an alcohol dependency and anger issues. Viewers see him get drunk and pass out. He also gets into several fights with co-workers where he slaps, punches, and tackles them (these scenes are played for humor). A character smokes meth and injects heroin; another character is shown vaping. Teens kiss/make out in a car, where they're planning to have sex. Another couple shares kisses in a hot tub, and a scene implies that a man is masturbating while leaving a phone message. All of the victims in the film are women.
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What's the story?
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW centers on a small-town sheriff named John Marshall (Jim Cummings), who's trying to solve a mysterious series of murders. John is in recovery from an alcohol dependency, recently divorced, and negotiating a very strained relationship with his 17-year-old daughter, Jenna (played by Chloe East), who's staying with him before leaving for college on a gymnastics scholarship. He's currently the acting sheriff, since his father (Robert Forster), the official sheriff, is in poor health. When two women -- one visiting, one local -- are murdered two nights in a row, John is determined to find the killer before they strike again. Both murders took place during a full moon; that and other evidence leads many in the police department to believe the murderer is a werewolf. John and his second in command, Detective Julia Robson (Riki Lindhome), must figure out the killer's identity. Between the stress of his ex-wife's demands, his father's health issues, his relationship with his daughter, and trying to solve the crime, John relapses and starts drinking again. Now it's a race to see whether he can capture the wolf/monster before he's overcome by the monster inside of him.
Is it any good?
This suspenseful, gory story about a mysterious killer in a small town has a few predictable aspects, which may be what Cummings (who also directed) was going for. In The Wolf of Snow Hollow, you know exactly who's going to be murdered and when. In fact, it's the knowing that makes it suspenseful. And the movie taps into current issues by addressing how some people view the police -- and John wanting them to do better because of recent poor opinion of the department.
Comedic moments serve as tension breakers. And the movie cleverly provides subtle clues to solving the mystery throughout the story -- but some are a bit too subtle and may be overlooked The subplot that involves John's personal life is a little hard to follow at times. Also, a few characters are introduced quite briefly, making it hard to remember who's who and whether they're important. All of that said, the movie does show how stressful police work can be and how your personal life can add to that stress, sometimes leading to a breaking point. The overarching theme is being able to overcome your own personal monsters before they overcome you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Wolf of Snow Hollow portrays alcohol addiction and stress. How did drinking and stress affect the main character's work and his relationship with his daughter?
How is this horror movie different from other supernatural horror movies? What makes this type of movie disturbing? Why do you think the characters were so quick to believe that it was a monster or werewolf that was doing the killings?
How are police portrayed in the film? Are small-town police portrayed differently than city police officers in movies? If so, why might that be?
This movie has plenty of violent scenes. What's the impact of media violence on kids?
- In theaters: October 9, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: December 15, 2020
- Cast: Jim Cummings, Robert Forster, Riki Lindhome
- Director: Jim Cummings
- Studio: Orion
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, bloody images, language throughout and some drug use
- Last updated: December 14, 2020
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