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November 2010

Blood Snow

cast: James Kynson Lee, George Stults, Tiffany, Penny Drake, and Danielle De Luca

director: Jason Robert Stephens

80 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Kaleidoscope DVD Region 2

RATING: 6/10
review by A.E. Grace

Blood Snow

I'll begin by repeating something I've said previously: I do appreciate and support low budget films. It's just that I'm still waiting for one that actually pays off. Films like this have a lot to offer in regards to educating all the budding filmmakers out there, particularly as this one in particularly had an extensive, detailed 'making of' in the special features. However, that's about all it had. With poor sound effects, cheesy dialogue, and a confused narrative, I'm afraid they didn't quite succeed in making an original horror.

Blood Snow (aka: Necrosis) follows six young men and women on a snowy trip into the mountains, to reveal their slow discovery of the location's haunted past of cannibals. First and foremost, I'd like to point out that these guys must've all taken a handful of 'calms' before all the shit started to kick off, because even when shotguns were blasting off legs and ghosts were clawing at the windows, everybody seemed to be keeping their cool. This might've had something to do with the fact that the gunshots sounded more like someone farting into a cushion, and the fights were under dramatised by the distinct lack of thuds and thwacks. Over all the sound editing was rather lacking, and made the effects of the actual horror seem puddle deep.

Then there's the issue of the horror itself; the writers and directors seemed to have no idea what they were trying to achieve, or were at least conflicted between two separate ideas. The movie begins by leading viewers into the idea that one of our protagonists, Jerry, is slowly becoming subject to torment by some frozen ex-cannibal corpses, who wanted to screw with his mind.

However, their actual intention wasn't immediately clear, and not in the creative ambiguous sense; the ghosts appear very rarely, and don't seem to have any real agenda. Their lack of presence in the film tended to switch off their importance in my mind, and in the end, they didn't really have much to offer. The gory visions were the same; I was left wondering what purpose these actually served other than to use up the left over corn syrup.

Next, we find out that Jerry has been suffering with some mental issues, or schizophrenia as character Megan randomly concludes, and has been off his medication for a while. Therefore, I'm led to believe that the ghostly torments are all in his head, until the twist at the end. Either of these ideas would've been good if they'd been consistent, but they weren't.

A psychological thriller needs to be nursed like a demonic, gurgling infant, and as it grows it must be shown consistency and order to shape it into the stonking great child of Satan any good horror should aim to be. The lack of a confident aim made what was actually a well-produced film, barring the poor sound effects, seem amateur.

The acting was competent throughout, but was rather contrived at times. At one point I actually found myself doing impressions of a character, only to find, to my great amusement, that the absurd line I'd made up for the fun of it was actually part of the dialogue seconds later. The line was "Hippos, actually." Now either I'm psychic, or this was one truly awful screenplay.

There was one rather cool aspect of the casting, however, and that was in the form of Michael Berryman, who any horror fan will recognise as being rather a cult film celebrity. He's appeared in films such as Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects amongst many others, and was nominated for a Saturn award for his part in 1977's The Hills Have Eyes. He also won an EyeGore award for his contribution to the horror genre in 2007.

This little offering of horror film knowledge did sweeten the deal, but his part in the film was too minor to have given him a chance to really shine. Personally, I think the director missed out here; I'd rather see Michael Berryman being a creepy, lumbering psycho than watch some Z-list actresses wear bikinis in freezing weather. No, I'm not kidding.

Overall, this is a movie that, whilst being produced very well in visual terms, only casual film watchers would find interest in it. The scares were cheap, the fleeting sex was unnecessary, and the story had no clear direction. I'm giving it six out of ten purely because the attention to detail in the 'making of' video was good to see, the visuals and setting were of a nice quality, and Michael Berryman was in it. That's all.

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