Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Thomas Calabro, Ashley Laurence, James Russo, Shaun Kurtz, Barbara Gruen
Directed by Serge Rodnunsky
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
And so the question remains … Why is it that ninety-five percent of the movies based upon the work of literary great H.P. Lovecraft end up sucking? Is the material just too out there? Or maybe, just maybe, his work shouldn’t be modernized with pimps, hookers, and other useless and completely unnecessary plot devices that render an otherwise visceral tale completely flaccid and uninteresting.
Based upon his story Cool Air, Chill is yet another in a long line of lackluster attempts to capture the other-worldly creepiness of an author who was way ahead of his time.
An aspiring writer named Sam (Calabro) takes a job at a convenience store only to find that its proprietor, the mullet haired(!) Dr. Munoz (Kurtz), is an ex-scientist with a rare skin condition that forces him — for all intents and purposes — to live in a freezer. Little does Sam know that the good doctor actually died years ago but has managed to keep himself alive by performing occult rituals and harvesting fresh flesh off of the city’s undesirables. Of course he finds out, and then his love interest in captured, and yadda, yadda, whoopty-doo.
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Well, yeah. Sort of until that last part. Too bad director Serge Rodnunsky does not possess the chops to get decent performances out of his cast. Nearly everyone in Chill delivers their lines by:
B: Scowling and letting them drip with disgust from their mouths in the most hammy fashion possible
C: Mumbling them out like a coma patient waking up after five years in the void
The only two people in this otherwise train wreck of a film who come off as convincing are Ashley Laurence and Calabro, which is no small feat given the drivel that they were given to spout. The experience really is that embarrassingly painful.
However, if you make it to the film’s finale, and holy shit was that a chore, you’ll be rewarded by seeing what has to be the single most laughable CGI-rendered explosion that I’ve ever witnessed. Seeing our two heroes run from it amounted to one of the most gut-busting and unintentionally funny experiences I’ve had in forever! I played it back several times! Here’s a hint — if you can’t afford pyrotechnics in your film, then it’s a pretty safe bet that you can’t afford a competent CGI artist to make fake fire look real for you. It might be a good idea to go in another direction for the finale. Wow. Just wow.
In terms of exras we get nada other than a trailer gallery for some other shitty looking flicks. I’m pretty thankful for this. I don’t think I could have beared to sit through a single other thing associated with this flick.
It’s back to the old drawing board for H.P.! I’m starting to think that maybe Stuart Gordon should hold a seminar for young filmmakers who are looking to adapt Lovecraft’s work. He may not be perfect, but at least he gets the job done. It couldn’t hurt, right? Sigh.
1 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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