EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|LAST WINTER, THE (director/writer: Larry Fessenden; screenwriter: Robert Leaver; cinematographer: G. Magni Agustsson; editor: Larry Fessenden; music: Jeff Grace; cast: Ron Perlman (Ed Pollack), James Le Gros (James Hoffman), Connie Britton (Abby Sellers), Zach Gilford (Maxwell McKinder), Kevin Corrigan (Motor), Jamie Harrold (Elliot Taylor), Pato Hoffmann (Lee Means), Joanne Shenandoah (Dawn Russell), Larry Fessenden (Charles Foster); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte/Larry Fessenden; IFC Films; 2006)|
shocker that works as a thinking man's ghost story pic."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Larry Fessenden ("Habit"/"No Telling"/"Wendigo") is director and cowriter with Robert Leaver of this intelligent low-budget innovative and original global warming horror film, that's filled with supernatural elements, politics and a love triangle romance in the frozen tundra.
A team of eight diverse
manning an outpost in the dead of winter in Northern
Alaska for North
Industries, a remote station that's ominously built atop
burial ground. They're oil scouts, hoping to bring in
rigs to get
started in building a pipeline in that pristine and
uncivilized part of
the world. The crew is headed by the gruff Ed Pollack
the loyal company man. Returning to the station after
being gone a
month, Ed finds his sexy squeeze Abby (Connie
Britton), the loyal company gal, has switched bed
partners and is now
keeping warm his rival, the newly hired
research scientist James Hoffman (James LeGros). The big
as a political maneuver to get public support for the
project, hired Hoffman to make sure the public knows the
things by the book and thereby calm down the
environmentalist about the
dangers of this project.
Other crew members include a
laconic mechanic named Motor (Kevin Corrigan); a nerdy
Elliot (Jamie Harrold); an outdoorsman youth who is
the son of Ed's
friend, Maxwell (Zach
Gilford); a friendly simplistic cook, Dawn (Joanne
Shenandoah); and a
mystery man who stares out into space as if communing
with nature, Lee
When Maxwell is found naked and frozen
dead in the
snow, an alarmed Hoffman feels something strange is
going on and even
if he doesn't know what that is, he still wants to
cancel the project.
But he's opposed by Ed, who talks rubbish about the
project must go on
no matter what because the public needs the oil. Hoffman's on-site
investigation shows a melting permafrost and a possible
seepage of "sour gas." This is something that has been
dormant for over
ten thousand years, and might be explained by global
keep getting worse by the minute, as some in the crew
start seeing dark
visions of earth-spirit monsters and start acting
weird. As the crew
refuses to heed Hoffman's warning to flee the area,
they finally find
themselves trapped in their remote outpost with no
radio contact and no
way to go home again.
The disturbing pic asks us to believe that maybe the Native Americans are right when they say an evil spirit has come over the land because of man's greed and his willingness to rape the land without concern for the environment. It's a pro-environmental apocalyptic shocker that works as a thinking man's ghost story pic, with enough scares and intense dramatics to get over as a warning to those who don't take heed of the film's message to not despoil the environment without facing deadly consequences to pay for such folly.
REVIEWED ON 11/3/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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