We've all seen similar stories before. Some things about the cinematography were strong, while other scenes were so contrived that I wound up adding my own lines after a bit; a habit picked up from years of Mystery Science Theater and Monty Python: the only way of making it through a brutally ridiculous movie. I'm a Lovecraft fan, too, but I've never read this story.
If this idea had been handed to a competent group of actors, it'd probably be decent, but Dr. Munoz and his performance were the most transparent I've seen in a long time. If this one's in your local rental kiosk, and you like to toss a few lines into a bad movie during supposed ultra-dramatic moments, grab it!
As far as I can tell, the cover is the most frightening thing with this one.
The screen writers have taken the liberty of placing this in modern times. The story is grime and keeps the basics of the Lovecraft horror. This could have been a greet horror classic if not for the stilted; or dare I say it, poor acting. The budget was obviously limited as will be noticed by the very limited sets and props. I mean the white van looks like it was rented for the day and had mud on it too make it look like a long neglected vehicle. When the acting does not capture your attention like in this film you start too notice things like that. I will not give away the plot for those who have never heard of the storyline. I am glad I saw it but happy I only paid $2. This is a movie that will only get the one viewing from me. My suggestion; borrow it.
I am going to keep this short, to avoid wasting any more of my time with this completely lousy movie. If you want to see what happens when an incompetent director is combined with an amateurish cast, a putrid script, and apparently no budget at all, then by all means rent this stinker. It reminded me of the old 1960's drive-in movie features with unconvincing blood and gore and a ridiculous "plot" that keeps you laughing (out of pity) instead of scared.
If one purpose of movie reviews is to keep innocent viewers from wasting their time and money, then please accept my honest advice and avoid this wretched mess at all costs. Even if it were offered for free, it would still be a waste of your precious time.
Based upon H.P. Lovecraft's story Cool Air, Chill is yet another in a long line of lackluster attempts to capture the other-worldly creepiness of an author who was way ahead of his time. The movie have a lots of problems for the begining of the production. First the director Serge Rodnunsky does not possess the skills to get decent performances out of his cast. The only two actors in this otherwise train wreck of a film who come off as convincing are Ashley Laurence and and Calabro. The make up is horrible and I know this is a low budget movie, but definitely they kill this production. And if you make it to the film's finale, you'll be rewarded by seeing what has to be the single most laughable CGI-rendered explosion that I've ever witnessed. In other words this could be a good movie if the production crew and the director were more careful.
An unusual H.P. Lovecraft adaptation set in modern times, Chill is a bleak and unsettling horror tale about a man, Sam (Thomas Calabro) who goes to work at a convenience store in a gritty, run-down section of the city, and ends up forming a bond with the store's strange owner, a recluse (Shaun Kurtz) who supposedly has a rare disease that renders him able to live only in cold envirornments, such as the permanently refridgerated rooms in the back of the store's building. In reality (and this isn't a spoiler at all, it's apparant very early in the movie), the recluse suffers from no conventional 'disease' at all, he's a practioner of the dark arts whose use of the book Necronomicon (I don't recall if it was ever referred to by name, but it's obvious that's what it is) has allowed him to come back from death. In his current state he's prone to rot at normal temperatures, and needs to (with help from his circle of acolytes, which he seems to be subtly trying to recruit the movie's protagonist into) regularly replace both skin and organs that wear out with fresh replacements, while he combs the Necronomicon for a method of perfecting his reanimated state. Meanwhile, Sam begins a relationship with Maria (Ashley Laurence of Hellraiser fame), who runs a shop on the same street, which is complicated by the fact that she's being harassed by her ex, a corrupt cop (James Russo).
Come to think of it, it's ironic that Hellraiser alumni Laurence is in this, because it was in a write-up for the movie Hellraiser - Deader (not featuring Laurence, but she Was in four of the other chapters) that I noted that 'bleak' was perhaps the hardest mood to get right in a movie. That chapter of Hellraiser, which was the only one in the saga I'd descibe as having a 'bleak' motif, did it right, and so does Chill, albeit to a bit of a lesser extent. When you're doing something all bleak and ultra-grim, it's easy for the movie to fall into the realm of the depressing. I don't know about other people, but personally, I think sad movies are fine, tragic movies are fine, but an outright depressing movie is a different story (documentaries are an exception - sometimes it can't tell the truth about a topic without being depressing). I found that's what went wrong with The Midnight Meat Train - fine cast, excellent special effects, but it was so much less than what it could have been because a more depressing and nihilistic movie is hard to find. It was actually too depressing to be scary, if that makes any sense (although that's just my opinion). Now here in Chill (and in Deader), it successfully navigated that tightrope where it was very grim, very disturbing, but didn't become suffocatingly so.
And really, for this movie to work, it had to be set in a very grim slice of the world. A section of the city where everything is going downhill, where the characters involved have largely lost hope, where evertday atrocities go unpunished and even unnoticed. For example, the people abducted to serve as replacement parts for the reanimated Dr. Munoz are never even looked for in-depth by the police - the police in this part of town are corrupt, as nasty as the criminals, and don't really care to look for the missing because they're 'only' prostitutes or the homeless. In a place like this, where life is seen as disposable and the future as hopeless, the power offered by something like the Necronomicon, you can see how a manipulator like Munoz could gather followers, who are willing to overlook the horrors of what he's offering just to grab on to something grander than the horrors of everyday life. It would be why he'd set up shop in the worst ghetto he could find, why it's there that all the victims would be claimed. All this is never stated explicitly in the movie, but it's the vibe I got from it. But even amongst all this, some characters - including some of the last ones you'd ever expect - find themselves willing to try and save the victims of Munoz's cult.
The production values are pretty low, but it's possible that that was intentional, to add to the worn-out, crumbling-life, theme the movie was going for.
There's no question that this movie isn't for everyone, but those looking for a well-done excursion into some of the grimmer, mustier corners of horror; or looking for a unique take on Lovecraft's themes, should check Chill out.