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Talk About Terrible Road Conditions! Satisfying SyFy Silliness Sold By Solid Lead Performances
on May 18, 2013
4 stars: Lovers of Cheesy SyFy Fare
2 stars: Everyone Else
Looking for all the excitement of the hit series "Ice Road Truckers" combined with the prehistoric mayhem of "Land of the Lost?" That's just what the SyFy Channel serves up with "Ice Road Terror." As with most SyFy fare, "Ice Road Terror" might be an acquired taste. It certainly isn't meant to be taken seriously. I watch a lot of SyFy movies (my secret, or not so secret, shame) and usually anticipate the worst. Occasionally, though, I'm pleasantly rewarded. If you're expecting genuine thrills or horror when you check into these low budget projects, you'll probably ALWAYS be disappointed. If, however, you're content to have some brainless fun and a few chuckles, then some of these movies really hit the mark. For my taste, "Ice Road Terror" offers a surprising amount of silly fun. For a network renowned for truly horrible movies, this cheesy epic ranks higher than I might have thought based on the title. It helps immeasurably to have a solid cast of veterans (Ty Olsson, Dylan Neal, Michael Hogan, and Brea Grant) selling this schlock as if the fate of the world depended on their actions. All have worked with the SyFy brand in past projects, and their commitment to this material truly elevates it.
The creature rears his head quite early in "Ice Road Terror." A diamond mine in the Alaskan tundra accidentally unearths a prehistoric beast from beneath the ice. I'd have thought it would be grateful, but instead he wreaks havoc on his human liberators! At precisely the same moment, two long haul truckers (Olsson and Neal) are preparing a cross country trek to resupply the camp. Conveniently, for every SyFy film needs a love interest, a plucky environmentalist (Grant) is along for the ride. Needless to say, the movie really kicks into gear when they arrive at their destination and come face to face with the destructive lizard. The rest of the movie plays out like a frantic chase as all of the survivors race across treacherous terrain to evade the marauding beast. Yes, it does chase them across hundreds of miles! Why not? It's been alone for a very long time! Before it's all over, an epic confrontation is staged at an isolated cabin where not everyone is likely to survive. But can the monster be stopped?
"Ice Road Terror," as I mentioned, is not intended to be a great movie. The CGI monster effects are questionable. Some may hate them, but I thought they had charm. The deaths are handled well by SyFy standards and the pacing is kept up throughout. There is plenty of clunky dialogue and corny moments, but it fits well into the overall tone of the piece. Again, I really liked the cast. They sell this at every opportunity and that's what makes this much more fun than I had expected. If you're on the fence about a DVD purchase, you can look for this to rerun on the TV network. But I enjoyed this B-movie nonsense and recommend it for the interplay between Olsson, Neal, and Grant. They're just so darn likable. KGHarris, 5/13.