>> Fantastic Fest 3: The Last Winter (John’s Review, 7.5/10)

lastwinter.jpg I never expected to see a film that I would describe as John Carpenter’s The Thing meets Princess Mononoke, but here it is in The Last Winter. Writer/director Larry Fessenden has created a top-shelf indy horror film, a disquieting “man vs. nature” story that would give Al Gore nightmares.

A tight group of Alaskan pipeline workers led by roughneck Ed Pollack (Ron Perlman) are inconvenienced by ecologist James Hoffman (James LeGros), sent by their parent company for good PR. The crew are ready to complete their job post-haste, but Hoffman is startled by the sudden temperature decreases–decreases that are not only melting the permafrost, but seem to be causing some really out-there phenomena. Pollack’s green nephew is the first to see the eerie stampede of ghostly horses that circle their work camp, and his psychological unraveling from that point forward, brings everyone involved with the project that much closer to their doom. These spirits are not happy that their land is being mucked with.

Fessenden lets his landscape work for him with lots of great shots of the harsh tundra, creating a foreign environment that feels like part of the threat when things start going south. Perlman and LeGros are pretty terrific cast opposite of one another. Their realistic performances help ground the film; it’s especially important because none of the supernatural aspects are clearly spelled out. I kind of like it that way. This isn’t a film where a character attempts to explain everything 30 minutes before the credits roll. We only know what they know, and they want to survive first, figure stuff out second.

The Last Winter takes the thrills of a haunted house film and creates the first haunted Alaskan pipeline film. Put simply, it works. Effective and original, The Last Winter is the kind of movie that deserves to be sought out by horror fans, especially amongst a tidal wave of studio-released remakes.

7.5 on a 1 to 10 scale

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1 Comment

  1. I’m a big John Carpenter fan but the Hindy touch sounds interesting nonetheless. Is the movie available in Europe?


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