Hello to this fourth day of October Overlook Madness, this time from sunny/rainy (this weather can’t make up its mind really) Valdivia! I am here, as I mentioned yesterday, for the Film Festival that will go all through this week, and I shall be seeing many films from many countries and sometimes many years, as I’ve found myself liking more and more the incredible repertoire screenings that one can find in the festivals like Bafici or Valdivia. But without much else to add to that, I’ll present to you the horror movie for today, which represents a clear jump from yesterday and into the realm of this present decade, and it’s all thanks to the Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness that has decided to feature this film this particular year. You can watch the video where James and Mike discuss this movie here, and you can later join me in this space to hear about my insightful knowledge regarding this Adam Green film.
I have a problem and I realized it with this film, and it’s that I can’t really stand the sound nor the portrayal of bone fractures. But I am going out of order here, and while this film did yield its horrific effects on me and made me quiver with disgust and sometimes fear, I must say that for a movie that is this straightforward, it deserves a straightforward review. I mean, we could start by saying that the story is more a premise for the events that follow later, as much as they try to set it up, it’s mostly a well-meaning excuse to see characters suffer later: three friends (two longtime male friends and a girlfriend of one of them) go to a nearby ski course to do some ramps and turns, and all turns sour when they get on the last of the chairlifts, that stops in the middle of its track and leaves them without possibility of going back, suspended and exposed to the cold and to nature itself. The characters before all that happens have a time to chat it up and build their confidence with each other, positioning the state of their relations, as well as how much they know each other, in a way to make us care about the three of them, and while that doesn’t entirely happen, and most of the banter has zero repercussions on the aftermath of their incident, it’s still nice to see a director trying to cover and create characters that while I can’t call completely “deep”, they sure work inside their own logic.
This particular film, I think, once shit starts to hit the fan, turns into body horror. I can’t honestly call it gore, because the blood while not exactly scarce, I don’t think is the centerpiece of the special effects put together by Adam Green (au contraire the other films in his filmography). But I do think that there’s an emphasis on the changes that our protagonists go through in their skin, their looks, their hands, everything and how that affects them in the time, and such is the most important aspect of body horror: the chance of seeing a body change from the outside and how that change reflects on the inside, and what’s more important, those changes occur over time, and time is at both times the most and the least important aspect of this film. While the urgency of the fact that they’ll be frozen to death if they are still sitting in the chairlift, the way that time passes is not that satisfactory, and there aren’t more effects than those stated in the first few minutes of the incident, and they are only worsened and put to more extreme situations. I think that, for example, hunger and thirst would’ve been an interesting aspect to explore in this stranded position, but I guess with the flesh-eating wolves, the falls, the melted skin and the frostbite, you’ll have to cut a bit of fat around the edges to get to the good stuff that you’re prepping.
And I guess that the good stuff is good, and I mean it sincerely, the cuts, the skin, the makeup and the crushing of the bones are extremely realistic in the most low budget way you can think of. It made me cringe and squirm, and when you get me to do that it’s because you’ve made it work. Or maybe it’s because I was jumpy from the airplane flight. It’s a fun movie that gets what it gets through the means that it has, but that doesn’t mean that it has an unusual amount of unnecessary banter that makes it slow to start, but that it’s still commendable, but at the same time it feels more like a premise than a full blown movie, specially when there aren’t new elements to explore and it just ends the way you expect it to end.