Thursday, August 26, 2004

Movie Review: Jack Frost (1997)

United States, 1997
U.S. Release Date: 1998
Running Time: 1:29
Rated: R (violence, gore, language, and brief sexuality)
Cast: Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel, F. William Parker, Eileen Seeley, Shannon Elizabeth

Director: Michael Cooney
Producers: Jeremy Paige, Vicki Slotnik
Screenplay: Michael Cooney, Jeremy Paige
Music: Chris Anderson, Carl Schurtz
Studio: Simitar Video

Posted by Hello
Jack Frost is one of those films that can be labeled as a horror/comedy. Its spooks are more like spoofs and both its dialogue and scares are so over-the-top that they come off as phony and excruciating. Jack Frost is not intended to be altogether scary; instead, its geared more towards amusing inanity. However, in all actuality, this pitiful picture is neither scary nor side-splitting. The hilarity this picture attempts to secrete is more like sheer stupidity, and the overall film is more vomit-inducting than laugh-inducing.

Described by some as a campy B-horror picture, Jack Frost contains so much absurdity that it could possibly strike a chord with a few morons and turn them into avid fans of the film. Unfortunately, this film’s foolishness really results in an overall ridiculously retarded feature. The only attainable satisfaction and entertainment from this feature can be found in your own satirical “Mystery Science Theater 3000” comments.

The plot, as poor as it is, breaks down like this… On a cold and dark night, convicted killer Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) is being driven to the place where he is to be executed. En route, the vehicle he is riding in gets in an accident with a truck marked, “Genetics Lab”. Jack is thrown out of the vehicle and into the snow. Then, after the Genetics Lab truck gushes out gallons of genetic chemicals all over the crazed Frost, Jack dissolves into the snow. The snow then somehow (through a lame-looking morphing sequence) comes alive forming a mutant killer snowman housing Jack’s personality, soul, and his craving for murder. With snowman super powers and icicles for fangs, Jack Frost is thirsty for blood and ready to wreak havoc on the tiny unsuspecting town of Snowmonton. There he will find the man who put him behind bars in the first place, Sheriff Sam Tiler (Christopher Allport).

As if both the plot and premise do not already turn you off, here are a few more reasons why Jack Frost is jacked-up. For one, Frost makes a scarier villain in his human form--which is only featured in the first ten minutes of the film. Once the transformation from human to snowman takes place, the fear of the antagonist is based alone on his sharp spiteful voice. Secondly, the round Styrofoam-looking fluff of the snowman really does not install much fear; it rather provokes chuckles and smirks at how silly the living snow looks. Thirdly, all of the science behind the genetic transfiguration is absolutely asinine. (It is explained in a thirty-second muddled blurb of complete bull.) Also, the acting in Jack Frost is exactly what one would expect—beyond bottom shelf. In addition to the bad acting, the characters themselves are all so utterly pathetic that one could honestly not care less if Jack gets his way with them or not. Furthermore, the scenery – set in a supposedly cold wintry town – features very little snow. For example, the snowman contest in mid-town features about ten snowmen, but where did the snow come from? The streets and sidewalks are dry as a bone. The snow that you actually do see on screen is so fake looking that it could easily be mistaken for any other white substance. To put it simply, there is practically nothing on screen that is worth your attention.

With the exception of the laugh-out loud scene where a pre-American Pie Shannon Elizabeth (or Shannon Elizabeth Fadal, as she was then referred to as) realizes that a snowman’s carrot is multi-functional, Jack Frost is a bad movie—and that’s not “bad” in a good way. The only other positive aspect of this film (and I stress only), is the cleverly composed score featuring Christmas classics arranged in minor keys with dissonant chords.

Michael Cooney, the writer/director of this disgraceful picture, apparently set out to make a movie that is so bad it’s good. He failed. Was this straight to video production made precisely for the purpose of being made fun of and mocked? Its only real purpose should be collecting dust on the rental store shelves. Jack Frost is so deplorable that – at most – it is barely endurable.

With its despicable holographic cover art equipped with the cheesy tagline, “He’s chillin…he’s killin”, this VHS/DVD is irrefutably one you should shun. Unlike The Evil Dead trilogy, Jack Frost is just another one of the countless cult films in the horror/comedy genre that is horribly bad. When it comes down to it, Jack Frost deserves the cold shoulder. (1/2 star out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2004