Parent reviews for The Wolf of Snow Hollow
May 9, 2022
The real horror of this movie is that people like the main character really exist
Summary : This movie tries. It seems to want to be both a monster mystery movie and a gritty movie about the real life monsters (humans will ill intent or bad habits) and just ends up being a confused, non-satisfyinf jumble of both. (Review past this point contains spoilers) The good- I'll start with the good because, to be honest, there was not much good in here for me. Up until the last 10 minutes I really liked how the movie kept me guessing who the monster/ killer was. The film did a good job building a sinister atmosphere and having little moments where each character seemed sinister or suspicious. Having multiple plausible suspects and small clues is part of the recipe for a good mystery story. I was really trying to dig in and enjoy the "keep me guessing" element since I did not really enjoy most of the other elements of the movie. However, that enjoyment was completely deflated by the killer being a previously unknown character (wasn't in the movie prior to the end). The bad - Several aspects of this movie bothered me. The movie struggled with a balance between the themes it was trying to achieve. It seemed like it partially wanted to be a monster horror flick with mystery elements - who is the killer/monster, will the protagonist figure it out/ survive. It almost did this well by having sinister atomosphere and little moments where each character seems like "huh..maybe it's them". The movie also seems like it is trying to be a gritty, realistic movie about the horrors of alcoholism, emotional abuse and the good old fashioned emotional and physical damage that humans can inflict on each other. But instead of these two themes working together they just seem to compete and clash. For example, the main character John, is the police cheifs son and deputy and a recovering alcoholic. Hes also a pretty terrible person, and the movie takes pains to show us this. He has a quick and violent temper- I would say an easy half of his lines in the movie are yelling or being belligerent with the people around them. He slaps and hits people (this is played for comedy). About halfway through John falls off the wagon pretty hard. He's getting unintelligible, black out drunk at work. People around him try to help him despite his anger, belligerence and lack of gratitude. We are introduced to his relationship with his daughter when he and his ex wife and daughter meet at a cafe. He completely ignores her presence to fight with his ex, other than replying to her "hi dad" after the first verbal shots between adults had been fired. After John starts drinking again, there's a scene where he's drunk on the floor of the house and the daughter comes home and has to coax / drag him up the stairs into bed. He's sitting in bed and being shitty and the daughter is trying to get him to go to bed. She keeps repeating "Please go to bed, you're scaring me" while crying. He ends up angrily throwing a bottle at a mirror (implied he wanted to throw at her). But this "gritty" element to John's character completely plays against the monster mystery theme. Part of what makes monster horror movies good is audience identifying with the characters and therefore wanting them to survive the encounter and beat the monster. But here, I had 0 investment in John's safety. He was just an asshole who made the film somewhat hard to watch. If I wanted to hear drunk people be mean and belligerent to those around them I could just go out into the real world or call up a few choice relatives. The movie makes you sit through an hour and a half of this dude being a loud jerk, shitty to his kid and coworkers, and there is literally no payoff to that. At the very end one of John's coworkers comes to see the daughter move in to her dorm. Gives you a moment when you think, Oh maybe he died. And I have to say I was sincerely disappointed when he appears behind the coworker. Another example is one of the "red herring" suspects is a man with a wolf tattoo. He is shown doing drugs in his trailer and also lighting a bonfire with a naked woman's corpse on it. He is not the killer (although i guess technically a killer?) and dies of an overdose with about twenty- thirty minutes left of the film. But these elements are more jarring than interesting. Why would someone looking for a werewolf movie necessarily want to see a 15-20 second clip of a dude injecting drugs ? And the naked woman whose body he burned, who was she? Why is a dead woman treated like a gritty way to show you this male character is bad? On top of this, literally all the victims in this movie are women and girls. For this to be included, and then the killer is a rando townsfolk who wasn't previously introduced on screen, was irritating and unsatisfying to say the least. Overall, I stopped this movie three times to check to see how long was left, and honestly I should have just stopped watching the first time.