Monday, July 25, 2011

The Last Winter (2006)

The Last Winter (2006) Dir. by Larry Fessenden

The American oil company KIC Corporation is building an ice road to explore the remote Northern Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seeking energy independence. Independent environmentalists work together in a drilling base headed by the tough Ed Pollack in a sort of agreement with the government, approving procedures and sending reports of the operation. When one insane team member is found dead naked on the snow, the environmentalist James Hoffman suspects that sour gases may have been accidentally released in the spot provoking hallucinations and insanity in the group. After a second fatal incident, he convinces Ed to travel with the team to a hospital for examination. However, weird events happen trapping the group in the base. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on

I am, and have been, a big fan of Larry Fessenden. However, I am used to seeing him acting, and not directing. He was fantastic in I Sell The Dead, and I have seen numerous films where he just pops out of nowhere. This is the first film I have seen directed by him, despite numerous attempts to sit down and watch Wendigo, but this one just happened to be On Demand. The overall feeling of the film is creepy, and there a few great things at hand.

The acting in this film is superb. Ron (I'm always a badass) Perlman leads the cast as a hard headed environmentalist just trying to do his job. James (I shouldn't have been in Phantasm II) LeGros takes most of the screen time as he tries to figure out what is going on. The supporting cast is filled with many familiar faces, such as Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, NOES remake), Kevin Corrigan (Grounded for Life, Superbad), Jamie Harrold (Corn, Tell Tale), and of course Larry Fessenden himself. The casting is truly spot on with this film as the cast remain vastly diverse and keeps you interested during some of the films downtime.

The film is beautifully shot for being in essentially nothing but snow. It adds a lot to the eerie feeling the film has going for it. Music by Jeff Grace (I Sell the Dead, The Innkeepers, The House of the Devil) plays a huge part in the film's overall tone. Brilliant camera work and properly placed pauses only add to the feel. I think Larry should be very happy with the film as I really enjoyed it. The last thirty minutes of the film go a little batshit crazy, but in a good way. It really went in a different direction than I thought it would, but in a good way. The first part of the film was really focused on the idea that the earth was getting back at us, but managed to not get off track like The Happening. I won't say what is really going on because I don't believe in spoilers, but if you haven't seen it yet, then I highly recommend it. I hope Larry keeps up the directing thing. I had heard that he was set to direct the remake of The Orphanage, but when I hopped on IMDB today it says that he is no longer attached to the project, and that is sad. If I had to say one bad thing about the film, it would be that the pacing seems a bit off at times and kind of makes it drag for a bit, but the ending is well worth the wait. I give this film:

Entertainment Value: 8/10 crow pecked eyeballs
Cinematic Value: 8/10 crow pecked eyeballs

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