Tuesday, October 5, 2010

'Frostbiter' is sure to leave you cold

Whoops! Failed to notice I saved this as a draft instead of scheduling it to post! Almost missed one of the 31 Nights of Halloween as a result!

Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo (1990)
Starring: Ron Asheton, Lori Baker, Devlin Burton, and Patrick Butler
Director: Tom Chaney
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

When a drunken doctor on a hunting trip (Asheton) shoots the guardian of a mystic circle keeping the monstrous Wendigo contained, it falls to a teenaged girl (Baker) with dormant magical powers to stop the creature before it turns the entire world into a snowbound hell.

"Frostbiter" is another one of those movies that I wanted to like--how can one NOT want to like a movie where a pot of extra-spicy chili turns into a bunch of flesh-eating of monsters? It starts like a fairly typical low-budget monster film, morphs into an "Evil Dead"-wannabe, but then disintergrates into a morass of bad writing, easily avoidable continuity gaffes, and pointless plot meandering.

For what they had to work with budget-wise, the filmmakers do a great job with the special effects--the stop-motion animation is particuarly well-done--and unlike many creators at this level, they have a sense of not to dwell on their low-budget gore and animations but use editing techniques to minimize their presence onscreen and thus maximize their impact. The use of lighting and color on screen is also superior to what is found in many low-budget horrors.

However, the technical aplomb of the creators does not make up for the nonsensical, inconsistent and incoherent script where characters seem to forget what's going on in the rest of the film for entire sequences... and the weakness of the script is only made more apparent by the amateur actors featured in the film.

"Frostbiter" is a bad movie with a few scattered worthwhile moments. The aforementioned chili monsters, the "encounter" with Miss October, and the stop-motion Wendigo puppet are all highlights. But they are nowhere near enough to make this a movie that's worth your time.

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