Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Last Winter

Film: The Last Winter (2006)
Dir: Larry Fessenden
Rating: ** out of 5 stars

The Last Winter follows a team of scientists and drillers who are attempting to lay pipeline in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Bizarre events start to occur, like rainstorms and a rapid temperature increase. When one of the team members starts babbling about a "force" coming after them, the others chalk it up to craziness. But they are soon forced to accept that things are not right here and that someone - or something - will not let them leave.

Many times I have watched films where a perfectly good plot was poorly executed and thus ruined the final product. The Last Winter seems to have the opposite problem - visually, it looks quite good, but the premise is ridiculous and preachy. This movie was doomed from the start. In his defense, I believe Fessenden told this story as well as anyone could have possibly told something this dumb.

There is some interesting camerawork and very nice cinematography, but ultimately, the film turns into a silly mess. There is very little horror involved, and the menace itself is both predictable and lame. If you want horrifying, let's talk about the CGI FX. Ugh. The filmmakers clearly allocated about $100 into their FX budget. Horrible. Just horrible. It's a shame because it cheapens all the nice cinematography throughout the rest of the film.

The pacing also leaves something to be desired. I grew bored very often, and the movie drags on and on before anything interesting happens. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of slow-boiling tension, but there is none here. On the positive side, leads Ron Perlman and James LeGros are good, as always.

As both a horror fan and bleeding-heart environmentalist, I should have loved this flick. But this movie proves that liberal lectures and horror do not mix. The result is boring, preachy, and ultimately, batshit crazy. Without giving away too much, I'll just say the moral of the story is: don't rape the Earth or she'll rape you back. I wish I could tell you the ridiculousness that comes out of that, but my spoiler ethics overpower me. See for yourself if you're feeling goofy. Otherwise, just skip this one and go watch The Thing again.