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Zombos Closet Review,
This review is from: Jack Frost (Letterbox Version) (DVD)
While the script idea for a serial killer snowman is a novel idea, the execution of the story, which possibly could have been on a par with Shaun of the Dead in its wit and visual humor, falls short. Whenever you try to combine the elements of comedy and horror, you have to decide where to take the story: should it be a parody, a satire, tongue in cheek, or a mix of these approaches? What visual framing will convey your choices, and how will the characterizations and actions move the story along to highlight them?
Beginning with the opening narration, an inappropriately told bedtime story to a young girl (at least the voice was supposed to be that of a young girl), the camera moves slowly across ornaments on a Christmas tree, pausing to show the film's credits written on each one (a clever but drawn out setup). This narration sets up the story, sort of, for Jack Frost, and we cut to him being conveyed to his execution in a van aptly titled with Troma-like subtlety "State Executional Transfer Vehicle." The ensuing truck collision with the aptly titled "Genetic Research" van shows the miniscule budget the movie was shot with, and Jack is now conveniently melted into the snow, where his molecular do-hickies merge with the stuff to create the killer snowman.
Cut to Snowmonton, site of the annual snowman contest and...hey, wait a minute, there's that lack of budget again. No snow! Well, okay, a few very small piles of fake snow lying around, but the snowman contest does look pretty pitiful, and awfully fake. This would have been a funny scene if intended as such, but I doubt the script was that sophisticated.
The first murder is done off camera, and the victim's discovery is framed pretty well and is humorous: the camera angle from behind the dead man's frozen head, looks up at the three police officers looking down at the body in the rocking chair, with one of them annoyingly rocking it back and forth with his foot. Another killing later in the story has a woman viciously murdered by Jack, using a Christmas tree, Christmas tree lights, and ornaments. The scene is vicious and not particularly handled well, so falls between intended to be funny, but not really funny. The camera angle here mimics the first murder, and while clever, loses a lot of its intended humor due to the way the woman's murder was handled. The killings become more vindictive and bloody, as the film becomes more gore oriented, and the characterizations lose the humorous aspect they were meant to convey because the balance of parody, satire, and tongue in cheek are lost to the stereotypical escalating violence.
In a convenient plot device to make Jack more mobile--he can change from snow to water as needed-he can enter houses, and commit a particularly distasteful rape and murder that completely changes the tone of the story. While the scene must have looked clever on paper, it defies logic and thematic sense, and moves the film into more serious horror-head territory (which would have been great if the rest of the film had joined it).
The ensuing scenes, which include the sheriff's penchant for losing keys, and, hey, where did all those aerosol cans and hair dryers come from?! combined with the highly unlikely denouement involving the anti-freeze filled truck bed, are incongruous with the more serious tone of Jack Frost's killing spree.
While this is not a good film, it still contains some elements worth watching, and also provides a primer in what you should not do when attempting a humorous horror film for budding scriptwriters.
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Initial post: Mar 6, 2009 8:12:07 AM PST
Good advice for filmmaking and excellent review for a bad horror movie. I agree this film would have been more successful if it remained in the realm of comedy because the killer snowman idea doesn't cut the mustard with me.
Posted on Jul 2, 2010 2:21:19 PM PDT
Wow man you took this movie way too seriously. It's supposed to be stupid. Gee.
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