In 2009, six friends arrive at an isolated cabin to enjoy a long weekend in the snow. An epic snowstorm interrupts their vacation, trapping them on the mountain and resurrecting the haunting ghosts of the Donner Party.
Who says adding 80’s pop icons in horror films isn’t cool? At least it seems to be this year with Tiffany from “I think we’re alone Now” co-starring in a horror film. Well folks don’t despair, as Tiffany does just fine in this actor ensemble. What is really cool here is that this film is pretty rockin for a “caught in an isolated snow cabin resort” film. You might recall a somewhat similar scenarios with the film “Dead Snow” which I absolutely loved.
Well, you won’t find any nazi zombies here but you will find some pretty creepy colonial ghosts peeping around. When the group arrives on this getaway it’s a pretty paint by numbers lineup of 2 couples and 2 loners hoping to be a couple scenario. They have rented this kick ass cabin in the snowy mountains that operates by generator. Though its no hole in the wall as the house is as good as you could ask for in a remote location for travelers. When they get into town they have a little bit of word mixing with the locals which includes the oddly informative Michael Berryman to lend a few words.
His “beware of them hills” dialog is just what we need just in case we thought the trip was going to be roses and daises. What they don’t know, at least at first is that the location is right in the area where the infamous Donner Party was stationed due to bad weather. The story goes they went crazy and started chopping folks up for food. Not the kind of meal anyone wants to become a part of …but things tend to get off balanced when stranded in the mountains with no food on hand.
This back story sets up a nice reason for the creeps to come out creeping. In fact it’s James Kyson-Lee who plays Jerry that has the first episodes of snow fever seeing and speaking with corpses from the dead. Oh, and just for the record…yep he’s the sidekick to Hiro from the series “Heroes”…case you were doing a double take. Let’s see…. Meagan and Matt are the 2 loners hinting around the “lets maybe hook up, notion”. Karen (Tiffany) is there with Michael, the somewhat leader of the pack and Samantha is on-board with her boyfriend Jerry. There ya go…..now guess what? I’m guessing they all aint gonna make it.
I found myself going with the flow until the 3rd act. This in fact is my only complaint. The film was roughly clocked in at about 1 hr and 12 minutes, which by standards puts it somewhere between feature and short film. Though that missing 20 minutes really was the needed element. For one, once Tiffany and actor Robert Michael Ryan are off the screen…..they never come back. We are revealed something thru a dream but that’s it! We also are lacking a final confrontation with the supernatural elements of the film.
We are handed a reveal and a finale with Jerry but like films of this nature there is no creeps-come-a-knocking final confrontation. I think this all combined really hurts the film especially since its going so well up to that point. Final complaint is the DVD authoring had some issues with the “back to DVD menu” button. You can get there by “title” but that is something that should have been tested.
Directed by Jason Robert Stephens, I have to say I really like this one with the exception of 3rd act let downs. Maybe its the surreal creep factor, a bias towards liking snow films or that they asked Tiffany to sit in a hot tub ….I’m not quite sure. However, its paced really well for thrill and chills and in my books that’s all that matters. A solid soundtrack and decent editing effects rounds off this little gem of a film. If this were a post production screener I would have hoped that some of these issues maybe were addressed but for now folks will have to be content with the products completion.