Jim Harwood, scientist and divorced father heads up to the mountains with his feisty teenage daughter for his annual lynx research trip. Once he arrives, he is surprised to discover that the lynx population hasn’t diminished; it has disappeared. The reason for this disappearance is the Snow Beast, and it has a hunger for more than just mountain feline…
Written by Brittany Wiscomb
Directed by Brian Brough
Starring: John Schneider, Jason London, Danielle Chuchran
If this movie isn’t a SyFy original, it should be. It fits perfectly within the parameters of the formulaic vision of the directors of those films. Throughout the movie it pokes fun at itself; chiefly with regard to the movie’s namesake. The Snow Beast has Predator vision (minus the targeting reticule) and looks shockingly similar to the yeti-looking thing that messed Luke up on Hoth. The one exception is its face. Its face looks like a morlock from HG Wells’ “The Time Machine”. It is not so different than the ape costume that is available to all come Halloween, and is never particularly scary. In fact, he’s just downright funny.
In what was probably my favorite fart of the movie, John Schneider is getting some firewood from his porch and just feels like he’s being watched. But when he looks out into the forest, there’s nothing to be seen. When he returns to the cabin, the same shot that we’re shown of what he sees looking into the forest is shown again, only now, very slowly, the head of the Snow Beast slowly rises above a snow drift and slowly ducks back down. Fantastic.
Speaking of John Schneider, he hasn’t been around much since the 80’s (not since his remarkable country western music career), so I had to admire that he agreed to do this movie. Believe it or not he has what could be construed as “chops” in the acting field; after all, he is a 30+year veteran of the trade, so that stands to reason. He also appears perpetually young with no indications of any work done. He’s either blessed with those kinds of genes, or Dukes of Hazard still yields him heftier royalties than anyone thought possible.
There is the whole “Death Becomes Her” angle to consider. I haven’t yet ruled out that movie as more of a documentary than a comedy. Look at Chuck Norris. The winter wonderland where the story takes place was nice, though the lair of the Snow beast was nothing more than an oversized underground igloo. It was here that the Snow Beast stored his victims, like some sort of natural, Snow Beast-made walk-in cooler. I also loved the mercenary attitude that washes over John Schneider’s character in this walk-in cooler. He is being rescued by a colleague and his daughter when, by all rights, he should be dead. He isn’t, of course, and the colleague doing the rescuing sacrifices himself to save him. Schneider’s character has no problem with this and is out of there before you can say “messing with Bigfoot.”
This movie is great because it’s exactly what you expect when you see the title Snow Beast. There are no surprises, just an exquisitely cheesy representation of an equally cheesy Bigfoot / Abominable Snowman myth. Still, as with all Sy Fy original kind of movies, I can’t help wondering if there was just a little more budget, just a little more desire to make a good movie rather than a bad one, what kind of potential might it have had? I reckon we’ll never know. Bottom line: Snow Beast wasn’t quite as enjoyable as Harry and the Hendersons, but it was up there.
Snow Beast (2011)