March 15, 2011

Netflix'ns: The Thaw

Netflix'ns is a series of review shorts of films, new and old, seen on Netflix, be it DVD or streaming. For better or worse, I sat through these films and have lived to tell the tale. These are not so much reviews as just comments on the film watched. Some will be first time views, others will be revisits. This is a work in progress.

I remember when this first hit DVD a few years back. It was part of the first wave of Ghost House Underground movies. They are a part of Sam Raimi's Ghost House production house and were intended as competition for After Dark's Horrorfest series. Not sure how well it is working out for them, but it is great to have that many more horror movies to choose from. I think this may be my first flirtation with Raimi's selections. I like it.

The Thaw is not a terribly graphic movie, but it does have a few moments of bloody goodness. It is more concerned with atmosphere and suspense, which director Mark A. Lewis does a pretty good job at creating. Without the suspense this movie would just fall apart.

The movie is set near the Arctic circle where rogue environmentalist Dr. Krupiun (Val Kilmer) has set up an outpost. It seems that something has been discovered, something dangerous. He is also expecting a group of students to arrive, but the threat posed by this discovery leads his team to recommend not letting the students come up. The problem is that Krupiun wants to see hs daughter and rather than stop the approach, he makes sure she is on it.

By the time they arrive things have gone sideways and the students are left o figure out what is going on and upon discovering what is going on, find a way to survive. What have the found? Well, let's just say it will make you a little itchy.

I enjoyed The Thaw. It is far from perfect and feels a little like The Thing-lite at times. Now, while the atmosphere and suspense is generally good, the acting and writing of the student characters is just not that great. You have supposed environmental students who don't act like it, and a non-student who quickly changes her whiny attitude into a go-getter leader type who knows more than your average bear. No, nothing new, but is it too much to hope for something better?

On top of that, the environmental backbone of the piece looks to take over at a few points with the message overtaking the movie. It feels a bit like a lecture when I want it to feel like a movie. Still, the idea of an Arctic thaw releasing some unknown parasite, creature, germ, or virus is a compelling idea, right? Too bad it did not remain more of an idea. Still, it proves to be worth the watch, I just don't think I'll ever revisit it.

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