‘Wolf Hollow’ is a low budget horror-comedy film from writer/director Mark Cantu and based off a story by Brian Ceponis. It stars Felissa Rose, Brian Ceponis, Noah J. Welter, Christina Krakowski, Brandon Krum, Kamarra Cole, and Lynn Lowry.
One year after the brutal massacre of a group partying on the Neuri family property, Ray Neuri (Noah J. Welter) returns home, bringing along with him a group of independent filmmakers who are scouting locations for their upcoming project. Ray’s sudden return sparks mixed emotions from his family, who are currently struggling to keep their land from the hands of local politicians who attempt to seize it from them. Bart Neuri (Brian Ceponis) is happy to see his little brother and wants to see him stay for good, while Bart’s wife Evie (Felissa Rose) is less than welcoming towards her brother-in-law. While deep into the woods, tragedy strikes, and soon the group of filmmakers must try to survive the night as Ray’s family secret puts him and his friends – and everyone else in the town – in the path of the vengeful werewolves that are out for blood.
First and foremost, I’ll always appreciate a new Werewolf film that doesn’t use CGI or the ultra-cheap method of having actors wearing contact lenses while their characters just grow sharp teeth and nails for their designs. Here, the werewolves looked really good. The designs, suits, and effects are pretty strong in this movie. There’s one character who gets some action while half-way transformed, and the make-up effects worked for that stage of the metamorphosis. Speaking of effects, there’s also some good gore here too. Kudos to the effects team for their work.
While I do like this movie, I have mixed feelings about the set-up of the story. On one hand, I liked the characters that make up the pack of werewolves, and I liked the story revolving around them struggling to keep their land as local politicians attempt to force them out. Brian Ceponis is the most likeable as Bart, the alpha of the pack who seems genuinely good natured – to a point – and how he cares for his family and community. Felissa Rose also gives a good performance as the fed-up Evie, who lacks her husband’s calm demeanor and positive outlook. In fact, I think she’s pretty fun as such an unhinged character. However, on the other hand, I struggled with the group of characters who make up the film crew. Most just seem obnoxious, and their constant bickering grated on my nerves, particularly in the first half of the movie. For me, I was just much more invested in the side of the story that focused on the pack. That said, Noah J. Welter and Christina Krakowski are likeable leads, and Brandon Krum’s character Lucky Steve was mildly amusing, and that was mostly due to a running joke throughout the film about how he’s immortal, which is paid off with him surviving major bodily damage – a joke that requires a leap of faith from the viewers, but one that I was willing to take – especially when he loses a major limb while simultaneously feeding a werewolf something that it shouldn’t have.
My only other issue with the film is the editing. I don’t want to beat down the filmmakers here for doing what they could with the budget that they had, but there were certain sequences of violence that were difficult to make out due to the editing. This was only frustrating to me because of how much I loved the werewolves and selfishly I wanted to see them in action as clearly as possible.
Finally, the direction and cinematography from Mark Cantu were pretty solid, and I did like the score from composers David Fesliyan and Volodymyr Golovach. I’ve seen a lot of low-budget werewolf films at this point, and I’ve seen a lot of shit – and ‘Wolf Hollow’ is easily one of the better ones I’ve seen lately. It’s not a perfect film by any means. I certainly did have some issues with elements of the movie, but overall, I really liked the werewolves – designs, effects and characters – and found it to be a fun, decently paced B movie. If I could ever get my hands on a physical copy, I wouldn’t mind adding it to my collection.
‘Wolf Hollow‘ is available to rent on Amazon and Vudu.