This Day in Horror

22 January 2013

Hypothermia 2010 - REVIEW


The term "Creature Feature" can be traced way back in the annals of film history. It's a generic title used to describe a horror sub-genre and can most effectively be attributed to the Japanese "giant monster" movies from the 60's and 70's. Since then others have jumped on the creature bandwagon, including the Syfy channel. Admittedly, that's one of my soft spots though. I could veg out on Syfy originals all weekend without ever batting an eye.

Ray Pelletier (Michael Rooker) just wants to have a peaceful weekend getaway with his family. Their usual spot... Shadow Lake where they spend most of their time relaxing and ice fishing. Now, those aren't really two things that, in my opinion, really go together but ya know.... to each his own. Not long into their day on the ice, the quiet is shattered with the arrival of the overly obnoxious Steve Cote (Don Wood) and his son Stevie Jr. (Greg Finley), who blaze onto the ice dragging their high-tech mobile fish house (RV) behind them. After a series of strange events i.e. a huge fish getting away and them seeing something under the ice, Cote decides to show off his extravagant fishing hole by inviting the family back to his fish house for dinner. Things take a turn for the worse when Stevie Jr. is pulled under the ice by an unseen force. The two feuding families must band together to survive what's beneath the ice.

As you might expect, the performances in this one are way above par. After watching Rooker as Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead for so long, it's hard to imagine him as the laid back family man type but, as usual, he plays it well. Blanche Baker rounded out the mother/father duo with believability. Together they made you wish your parents were this cool and laid back. Amy Chang and Benjamin Forester made a cute college age couple intent on changing the world for those less fortunate. Chang's skills were under utilized here. She has the potential to do so much more if given the right avenue to do it. I don't recall seeing anything else from Forester but he did manage to keep up with rest of the cast. Wood is the character you love to hate. The character that has so much testosterone you expect him at any minute to start walking around pissing on everything to mark his territory. The manliest of men and he plays it frighteningly well. Finley plays Stevie Jr., the polar opposite of his despotic father who really wants nothing more than to please him. It's a big change from his stint as Jack Pappas on The Secret Life of the American Teenager but at least he's branching out.

With the cast attached to this film, you'd be likely to hinge your bets that this would be a solid, fun filled film that just didn't get enough recognition... but you'd be wrong. There are so many awesome elements to this film that should've made it great but somewhere in between conceptualization and completion, it all got lost and what ends up on screen is really nothing more than a Syfy original that completely missed the mark. Writer/director James Felix McKenney tries too hard to resurrect the days of old. It's not enough anymore to just throw an obscure, unfamiliar beast at your audience and expect them to buy it. Most are gonna want some kind of explanation. What is it? Where did it come from? How are they gonna kill it? None of these questions are answered. And since the whole film revolves around this "beast" I must tell you that NEVER have I been so annoyed with a movie monster in my life. Further proof that McKenney tried to bring back that nostalgia of the "creature feature" and failed. In fact, I had a little chuckle when I first saw it because no way was I really seeing what I was seeing... ya get me?? This creature ends up being some kind of weird cross between the Land of the Lost Sleestaks and a mutated piranha.

If all that doesn't throw you off and you're curious enough to make it till the bitter end... I'm just gonna go ahead and apologize now. I'm sorry that this film has let you down, not only with a laughable antagonist, but also for a story that lacks even the basic, fundamentals of horror. There's no built up. It's clear from 30 or so minutes in that most of these characters will meet their demise. I'm sorry that this dialogue is drab at best. I'm sorry that most of you will write this creature off as some guy in a latex suit with a giant head, plastic teeth and bat wings. I'm sorry that this vast location wasn't used to it's potential and I'm sorry that the ending was so horribly unsatisfying. I don't apologize very often so just take it and walk away. If by some chance you're just dying to take in a Glass Eye Pix production, may I suggest Stake Land? Granted I haven't seen every film they've put out but Stake Land rates heads and tails higher than the others.


1 comment:

  1. A great review lady. I agree the acting all around was pretty solid. Before I really heard anything about the cast, I knew Michael Rooker was in it, and that in itself was enough to encourage me to watch it.

    And the creature? I try to shut my brain off when watching movies that don't require a lot of thinking, but it doesn't always work. Case in point: this....whatever it is. There are movies that leave you wondering and thinking about things, and there are movies that just don't explain anything. It's a fine line between those two comparisons, but the line is there. And this movie falls in the latter category.

    Again, it was a great read. If I hadn't already watched this movie, I may have heeded your warnings. Oh well, such is life. :)

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