Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Last Winter (2006)

Fear 1/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 1/5
Nightmares 0/5
Super bad CGI effects that totally ruin the film 5/5

Yeah, so you already know how this ends: badly. But I'll get there in a second.

The Last Winter starts well. It's got a lot going for it, not the least of which is Ron Perlman as the stubborn, Midwestern, steak goblin' perhaps too stereotypically Republican central character. He's in charge of a group of oil drillers who have been given the task of being the first to drill in the recently opened Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. This is because the energy crisis is out of control and the American people "want this." So, presumably this is set in the future, but not the distant future. maybe like 10 years.

Problem is, Perlman's not very good at his job. His other problem is that the arctic refuge was opened up with the agreement that the drilling would be done in a sustainable way which is where main character no. 2 enters - a bearded, sensitive brainiac who is all about putting the kibosh on Perlman's plans. How do you spell kibosh?

Perlman's third problem is that sensitive eco-dude is absolutely correct when he states that the drilling equipment can't be brought in because the ice roads just won't freeze anymore. Global warming, it seems, is melting the permafrost and it's just unsafe to drive.

Meanwhile, the people reporting up to Perlman are slowly starting to see things, hear things and start going "mental". Eco-dude's theory is that the melting permafrost, having been frozen for nearly 10,000 years, is releasing some "sour gas" that is affecting the minds of the people stationed up there. One of the guys going nuts has a more fun theory which is that the oil they are drilling from is actually haunted. It is, as he says, really just the remains of millions of years worth of animals and plants.

Director Larry Fessenden does a good job of exploring the bleak isolation of the Great White North and creates some creepy moments. He also knows when to keep things subtle and allow the audience to fill in the blanks. For a while, I was really enjoying this.

So, people start going nuts, start dying, start crashing planes and snowmobiles, catching on fire and getting burned to a crisp. It's nice and the panic level starts rising as no one knows what's going on. Sticking with the "sour gas" theory, it actually, kind of, seems plausible.

Then the CGI ghost reindeer monsters arrive and the movie suddenly assumes that the audience is made up of 10 year old boys and starts to seriously suck shit for the last 10 minutes. It's like the director of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was called in at the last minute. No thanks.

- Complaint Department

1 comment:

the fucking beard said...

this sounds just like sunshine only in the arctic instead of space, which is also kind of chilly, even in the summer