Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Carly Pope, Marc Menard, Crystal Lowe, Ona Grauer, Peter DeLuise,
Directed by Paul Ziller
Distributed by Genius Products, LLC.
Remember that movie Alive, the one based on the true story of that Uruguayan rugby team that crashed in the Andes and the survivors had to cannibalize the corpses to stay alive? Yeti is sort of similar to Alive except it’s a college football team crashing in the Himalayas and instead of having to eat each other to stay alive they have to stay alive while trying to keep the Abominable Snowman from eating them.
We’ve had a myriad of killer Bigfoot movies in recent years so it really is about time the Yeti got its due. This man-eating snow demon proved to be something of a mixed bag for me; that goes for both the movie and the monster itself.
Like the mangy, dogfaced offspring of a Morlock and The Grinch, personally, I just wasn’t too crazy about the design of the Yeti suit for some reason. I guess this snowman just wasn’t abominable enough for my taste. As much as I advocate man-in-a-suit technology, watching the man in the Yeti attire wade through the snow, it looked to me like an actor under heavy make-up trying his best to navigate through deep snow banks and not always looking entirely comfortable doing so. It’s still not a bad costume. I much prefer it over the truly cringe-inducing moments where we’re treated to a video game animatic Yeti (it didn’t even look to be the same color!) charging forth and hopping.
Yes, a hopping Yeti! Several yards at a time, in fact. Not since the days of “Bigfoot & Wildboy” have we seen a Gigantopithacus perform leaps and bounds of this magnitude. Eat your heart out, chupacabras!
A college football team is on its way to the first ever bowl game being held in Japan (The Zilla Bowl? The Rice Bowl? The Sugar Wok?) when their plane goes down in the snowy Himalayas. I’d say if you’re flying from North America to Japan and end up over the Himalayas at any point you really are taking the long way around.
Before anyone can yell “We are Marshall!”, team captain Peyton Marino takes the lead in coming up with a survival plan for himself and the ten others still breathing. You read that correctly; screenwriter Rafael Jordan (The Sci-Fi Channel’s Copperhead and Wraiths of Roanoke) actually went there. Peyton Marino – presumably because naming him “Montana Favre” would have been too obvious. This Marc Menard guy playing him gave off a discernable Casper Van Dien vibe and in this case I mean that as a compliment.
I have no complaints about any of the cast members. All display enough personality to keep their characters from being bores but I’ll be damned if I could recite the name of any of them outside of one Peyton Marino and Sarah (Carly Pope from the series “Popular”), the world’s cutest college football team manager. Romance is in the air along with the stench of dead bodies and smoldering debris.
Crystal Lowe is in the movie as well but her character is even more insignificant than the one she played in the Black Christmas remake – speaking of abominable.
Help might be on the way in the form of “Stargate SG-1″‘s Peter DeLuise and House of the Dead‘s Ona Grauer as the lone rescue rangers occupying a Himalayan outpost; two useless characters there to add a little extra frozen chum to the Yeti’s eventual feeding frenzy.
No radio. Precious little food. Having to make a fort out of the fuselage and build a fire for warmth. Not even sure rescue is on the way. This is designed to be a breezy B-movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously which means there’s no reason to expect much by way of high drama or edge-of-your-seat intensity. Which makes for a problematic second act since the script chooses to dwell too much on darker aspects of their peril that beckons a more serious treatment than the lightweight film wants to deliver. Too much focus on their surviving against the elements, too much in-fighting and too little Yeti action, or much of any action at all.
This is one of those movies where it is impossible to watch and not wonder why they don’t do a number of things that could have proven beneficial considering their predicament. You can nitpick the hell out of it if you so choose – kind of pointless though. However, one glaring oversight I could not get around was how they only build a tiny fire to keep warm despite being surrounded trees. Even without benefit of an axe I found it rather hard to believe they couldn’t have found a way to get some bigger wood for that fire. Okay, one more; they’re freezin’ in the freakin’ Himalayas and don’t even bother to use the hoods of the coats to cover their heads?
Tempers flare more than their fires does, especially when it comes to the prospect of having to potentially feed upon the dead bodies of their friends, teammates, and even family members that didn’t survive the plane crash. Except something else is already doing just that. Bodies keep disappearing on a nightly basis. There’s a Yeti on the prowl that’s rather hungry, quite hostile, and possibly horny.
The third act will see the Yeti carry Sarah off into the night and Peyton leading what’s left of his team in pursuit of her. She’ll wake up with it sleeping on top of her and not willing to let her go even in its slumber. Sorry, you pervs, no Night of the Demon squatch-on-girl action in this one.
The man behind the camera for Yeti is Paul Ziller, who is rapidly becoming the premiere director of Sci-Fi Channel features (Look out, Tibor!) having previously helmed the superior cryptid creature feature “>Loch Ness Terror (DVD review) earlier this year. I wanted to like Yeti more than I actually did. I didn’t dislike the film. It just doesn’t sustain itself to the degree Loch Ness Terror did. The set-up is strong and the climax with the Yeti going berserk, including ripping off a guy’s leg, beating him with it, and then chewing on it like a turkey leg on Thanksgiving, is a hoot. A good beginning and a fun ending, but most of the film’s midsection just left me – dare I say it – cold.
And let it be said if you can hang off a cliff with only a one-handed death grip on a tree limb keeping you from plummeting to your doom and doing so with a full-sized Yeti dangling from your legs … That is one hell of a strong arm you got there.
2 1/2 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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