Sunday, March 24, 2013

Movie Review—Hypothermia

Hot on the tail of my fish person post, here comes a movie about... you guessed it... a fish person! Hypothermia showed up out of the blue on Netflix, a movie that I hadn't heard about (and I like to think I'm pretty good about keeping an ear to the ground about upcoming horror movies, be they big releases or indie releases.

Hypothermia is a strange movie. Not strange in that it's a weird plot—it's got a pretty normal plot as far as monster movies go. A family goes out for some ice fishing, is frustrated to find they have to share the remote frozen lake with an obnoxious man and his obnoxious son, then they all get trapped on the ice by something monstrous that lives in the freezing waters below.

No, the weird part is the fact that the movie's got some really well done camerawork and directing when it comes to establishing mood. The shots of the monster swimming under the ice are actually pretty effective and spooky, and there's some pretty good gore effects, and the music is nice and spooky.

That said... the acting's all over the board. The main family's dad is played by Michael Rooker, and seeing him play a pretty decent guy when what I know him best as is Henry from "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" and Merle from "The Walking Dead" was a bit disconcerting. He does a great job in the movie... and his acting is made all the more excellent by the fact that everyone else in the movie is various shades of mediocre to terrible. Especially the other father and son.

But that's not the worst. Because, eventually, the monster comes out of the ice.

I've seen some pretty unconvincing monster suits in my time on this blue and green rock hurtling through the cold vastness of space, but I really don't know if I've seen one more ridiculous and unfortunate than this one. The fact that the monster's shown in full daylight makes things worse, even if the director tries to hide the shame by using jerky camera moves, quick edits, and lens flare type effects.

We can still see it's a guy in  wetsuit with a rubber mask on his head.

This is a perfect example of less being more. Had they left the creature in the shadows, I might have been frustrated by the lack of a good look at it... but I'd rather be frustrated by that lack than boggled by the worst monster costume of the century.

  • ... would have us believe that fish see in "lava vision," where everything is seen through an orange filter. And if you get slashed by its spines... YOU see in "lava vision" too.
  • ... was executive produced by Larry Fessenden, who also apparently has a cameo as a fishing show host. I didn't recognize him, which kinda startles me. He's a bit memorable looking, after all.
  • ... one ups its crappy fishperson costume by capping the movie with what may just be the goofiest and silliest ending a monster movie's had in years. I'm tempted to spoil it, but it kinda has to be seen to be believed.
  • ... still avoids getting an "F" grade because despite its failings... has some good qualities in there... if you're charitable enough to notice them and not forget them when the fish person shows up for the first time in hard, unforgiving focus.
Grade:  D+

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