Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hypothermia Reviewed

After the Frankenstein monster, my favorite movie beast would be the Creature From The Black Lagoon. The monster is iconic and the movies are fun. The Creature was by far the best looking and most original of all the Universal classics. Somehow I've developed a deep fascination with humanoid fish people (see the next chapter of My Heroes Have Always Been Monsters). Give me a walking fish guy and you've got my attention. So when  director James Felix McKenney was talking about his love of the Creature in Famous Monsters back in '10 I was pretty excited.
Hypothermia stars the great Michael Rooker (Henry;Portrait of a Serial Killer, Mall Rats, Walking Dead) and Blanche Baker (Sixteen Candles, Raw Deal, The Girl Next Door) who are trying to spend a relaxing weekend ice fishing with their son and his girlfriend, but a couple of pricks from the city set up just a little ways down the lake and ruin their family time. But that's not all fate has in store for Ray (Rooker) and kin. A vicious 'lake man' is living under the ice and these six humans have gotten it's attention.
Hypothermia succeeds on more than a couple of levels. Starting with the actors and their great performances. Even the two assholes are kind of likable in a way. Michael Rooker was the only one I was very familiar with going in. As the lead of the film and patriarch of the family he's the heart and the anchor. Next the writing-tight, to the point script and well written dialogue. When it seems like so many genre films are about big global threats, Hypothermia is a breath of fresh air, feeling more like a scary down home campfire story. No baggage, no excessive exposition, just story. Third, the directing, while evenly paced we move into the action quickly and the film clocks in at sweet 73 minutes. McKenney lets you soak in the upstate New York environment and really feel how cold it is out on the ice.  Finally,  the monster which closely resembles an eel more than a fish. It spending a good portion of the movie eerily hidden in shadows or under the water, building the tension. I loved the chaotic shots where we got glimpses of the creature in action and how the actors reacted to the insane position they found themselves in stranded out on the ice.
I'm giving Hypothermia 4 Severed Thumbs Up, this is my kind of monster flick, highly recommended.
From Dark Sky Films and Glass Eye Pix, now available on DVD.

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