Starring Ami Veevers-Chorlton, Harmon Walsh, Noelle Reno, and Jennifer Hill
Directed by Neil Kinsella
Johnny cheats on his sweet as the driven snow and naïve as a preschooler girlfriend Tori with a trampy Donna D’Ericco look-a-like named Elaine he hooked up with at a wet T-shirt contest, and she even made off with his and Tori’s overdue rent money to boot. Johnny and his two slacker ski buddy friends also have problems with their boss, a ball-busting shrew that has it out for him after overhearing some unkind comments he made questioning her sexuality. Johnny’s problems escalate further when Elaine shows up at the ski lodge he and Tori work at looking for a job. Before Johnny’s life can fully transform into a Jerry Springer episode, a small plane crashes into the nearby mountain causing a colossal avalanche that traps everyone in the lodge beneath the snow. By everyone, I mean everyone I’ve just mentioned. Hey, it’s a low budget movie so they couldn’t afford a bigger cast.
If being trapped in a creaky, heavily damaged lodge under a ton of snow that could possibly collapse in on them at any moment wasn’t bad enough, the plane that crashed was transporting the body of a recently discovered ice age female humanoid that a mad scientist had intended to research and possibly resurrect, except she thawed out and resurrected in the plane, killed the pilot, and sent them crashing into a mountainside. Riding the wreckage down the avalanche, both the scientist and the Ice Queen find themselves trapped in the lodge under the snow with the others.
Here’s where the problems really occur, for both the characters and the film as a whole. Once again, we’re left with a movie revolving around a bunch of predominantly one-dimensional, stereotypical characters you’d find in any given slasher flick that constantly split up and lurk about an enclosed area so that they can be killed off one at a time or narrowly escape death at the hands of the killer. Ice Queen does have a cool monster (no pun intended) and a workable premise, and while I was generally entertained by the film, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that it could have been, would have been, better than it turned out if only a little more imagination had gone into the scenario and the Ice Queen’s motivations.
Ami Veevers-Chorlton plays the Ice Queen with a zeal that most of today’s scream queens couldn’t muster on their best day. She does some top notch monster growling; everything from her facials to body language gives life to the character. Too many monster moviemakers today don’t give credence to the concept of making the monster a fully developed character in its own right, preferring to just treat the monster as a plot device. Chorlton breathes life into the monster, making her infinitely more interesting than any of the other characters. There are just too many scenes of her growling without any real rhyme or reason. When she does get to do something out of the norm of conventional monsterdom, such as when she takes a liking to Johnny and sets out to seduce him, the results are flat out hilarious, and intentionally so without it seeming too deliberate and attempt at comedy.
As you can tell just by looking at the face on the box art, the Ice Queen isn’t your typical Ice Age female. In addition to her appearance, she desperately requires cold temperatures to function and by stabbing someone with her hand, she can freeze them from the inside out. While I still don’t quite understand what the practical nature of such a power would be other than to make the death scenes more interesting, watching the movie you can tell when the budget began running out as the first couple victims look like totally frozen corpses and the last few victims just stiffen their bodies and let out a computer generated puff of cold air as they die.
There are annoying inconsistencies that the film glosses over in regards to the Ice Queen’s nature. She’s so susceptible to warmth that she gets rendered unconscious simply by having the automatic hand dryer in a restroom blow warm air on her, yet later on someone tosses scalding hot water on her that only momentarily stuns her and leaves no lasting scars, a fact that’s especially suspect when you see how she meets her demise at the end of the film. Yeah, I’m over-thinking things here a bit but I liked the concept of this monstrous character so much that I couldn’t help but take notice when the movie began playing fast and loose with its own rules.
It’s so rare that a decent direct-to-video monster movie comes along that it rather frustrates me that Ice Queen, while infinitely more entertaining than most of its kind out there, is still an underachiever. A little more budget and another rewrite is all I think this movie needed to be something really unique. Nonetheless, Ice Queen is the kind of monster movie that makes for a perfect rental. You got some blood, some boobs, some standout moments, an outstanding monster performance, the most uses of the term “bitch” outside of a gangsta rap album, and a fun final 20 minutes that includes the Ice Queen’s seduction scenes.
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