You don't have to be a devoted aficionado of low-budget '80s action-horror flicks to appreciate the equally low-budget 2014 action-horror flick Wolfcop. But it's going to help… as is the ability to recognize the awesomeness of drunk werewolves getting in shootouts.
Wolfcop is effortlessly retro, from its wonderfully ludicrous premise, to its flawed execution to its fantastic use of practical effects. With the exception of a very few vfx and shots via camera drones, it could have been in the mid-'80s alongside Maniac Cop, Near Dark, and other movies of its ilk. While that's not going to have its charm for everybody, those who fondly remember renting VHS movies at the local video store based on the craziest, creepiest covers they could find.
And rest assured, Wolfcop is crazy. In the boozed-soaked, trigger happy town of Woodhaven, the delightfully named Lou Garou spends his work hours drinking instead of solving the city's many horrible crimes. That is, until he wakes up one morning with a pentagram carved on his chest, and increased amount of facial hair, and a touch of lycanthropy. In order to discover what happened to him, Lou actually has to do a bit of detective work.
Be warned Wolfcop eschews all werewolf traditions for an insane plot involving… I'll just say Satanists and human sacrifice, so don't expect bites and silver bullets. And don't expect The Howling either; Wolfcop is much closer to an R-rated Teen Wolf, especially once Wolfcop is on the beat.
Wolfcop isn't perfect; it somehow manages to sometimes play its premise a bit too goofily, especially in its ridiculously terrible town of Woodhaven, what with its yearly "Drink n' Shoot" event and "Liquor Donuts" chain — while at the same time often playing it too straight, and not letting its alcoholic cop-turned werewolf off the leash as much as one would hope. It should have picked one or the other, and not tried to do both.
But there's one way in which Wolfcop is completely devoted to its forebears, and that's its incredible practical effects. Seriously, this movie is worth watching for its fantastic werewolf transformation sequence alone, but all the special effects are outstanding, as is Wolfcop himself.
Right now, Wolfcop is playing in limited release in Canada, despite already having a sequel lined up. I would be shocked if it took too much longer to come to the U.S., at the very least on VOD. The film's charms are obviously not going to be for everyone, but for fans of '80s schlock, Wolfcop is a charmingly awkward love letter to a cinematic era gone by. And more love letters should feature gun-wielding werewolves in them.