My reviews often contain spoilers. So consider yourself warned.
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I had been wanting to see this one for a while. As soon as it began I was groaning, however. We get a snowy, gorgeously serene setting… ah yes… with some ugly, dumb rock song suddenly blasting over the soundtrack, grrrr. Very Dead Snow, and very much the reason I turned off Dead Snow after seven minutes. But I stuck this on out! I had heard something about wolves… ooooh, wolves.
We’re introduced to the main characters. And yay, our main girl looks like Sarah Polley. Little happy dance.
So, we have this trio of college co-eds who con their way onto a ski-lift to avoid paying for tickets, and sooner rather than later find themselves stranded on the lift… forgotten, everyone gone home… and boy, are they going to get cold! The really bad news? It is Sunday and the slopes won’t be open again until next Friday. Uh oh!
The acting here is all top-notch and the story genuinely feels as though it has been thought out and not just thrown together. The characters, too, felt authentic – as did their relationships with each other – they did seem like people that had spent time together and knew one another as opposed to actors just filling roles.
The film generated some serious tension that had me squirming and wanting to look away. But most of the movie is focused on just these three people trapped on a ski-lift, and such a claustrophobic setting always runs the risk of becoming stage play-ish. There was definitely some major downtime here with characters just sitting around blabbing – What was the best Christmas present you ever got? What celebrities would you bang – top three? This is how we first met in kindergarten – and while all this dialogue goes a long way to make the film and the characters seem more realistic, I did find my mind wandering and I began to head-chant ‘Something needs to happen here, now something needs to happen.’
This is a very commendable effort that doesn’t quite knock it out of the park – there are some very stellar scenes and the scenario will surely lead to discussions and consideration about what you yourself would do in the same situation.
Thankfully, the characters don’t behave stupidly (aside from getting themselves trapped on a ski-lift where they will most likely freeze to death – but who hasn’t been there?) or in any overly cliche way. For a rare change in horror, I could actually see myself doing exactly what they did in their dilemma – as soon as I thought to myself ‘Do that, do this!’ it happened on screen.
This is also a far cry from the oh-so-popular torture porn, with almost all the gore taking place off-screen or in quick half glimpses, which makes it all the more unnerving – we seem to almost experience the terror exactly as the characters do, seeing only what they see.
The film does lull when it should be going into overdrive, which makes it feel as if it was padded out to fit a certain run time. And boo on the soundtrack. Yet, it isn’t until Kane Hodder shows up driving a snow plow that you realize how bad off these kids really are – when Jason Voorhees is your best chance for rescue, you’re in trouble. B-