Review: Hypothermia (DVD)

2012/11/15 16:34:04 +00:00 | Derek Botelho

Indie horror director Larry Fessenden (Wendigo, Habit) has been producing films at a decent clip in the last few years and Hypothermia is one of the latest projects he has overseen. From director James Felix McKenney, who also helmed Satan Hates You, comes a simple story of the Pelletier family who go out for a day of relaxing ice fishing that becomes a nightmare.

Not only do they discover a strange creature under the ice, but a loudmouthed and opinionated ice fisher and his son make things even worse for the family. Here is when the old monster movie trope of “What’s the bigger danger, the ‘Other’ or your fellow humans?” rears its ugly head.

An indie drama wrapped up an old fashioned monster flick, Hypothermia isn’t a complete success, nor a complete failure. Rooker and company do what they can with a by the numbers script, populated by a cast of characters that seem to behave the way the do only to get from one plot point to another without any regard for actual logic. What the screenplay lacks, the film’s setting and photography make up for. The icy locations are eerie and appropriately desolate and the mood works at times better than it should. Unfortunately, once the monster shows up, things quickly spiral down, leaving the 73 minute film with not much to do as the clock winds down.

In the A/V department, the disc looks pretty good. The cold, flat look of the film is serviced by the sterile photography. The picture is clean, and detail level is decent, but it’s nothing exceptional. On the audio side of things, the dialogue is always discernible and the score and sound effects never get in the way. Dark Sky has bundled the film up with three making of featurettes. The first is a twenty minute “making of” feature, followed by a twelve minute piece about the transportation of an ice fishing shelter onto the shooting location called “Gimme Shelter”. Lastly, there's an episode of the faux fishing video “Rod and Reel” that was featured in the film. The movies’s theatrical trailer and a selection of other releases from Dark Sky wrap things up.

Hypothermia has aspirations to be a meditation on humanity's inhumanity to man, but sadly doesn't reach its goal. The "wet suit with fins" monster makeup doesn't do the film any favors either. On the other hand, hardcore monster movie fans and admirers of Michael Rooker will want to check this out. There are worse ways to spend a little over an hour, but I'd imagine it will be far more fun for most people to actually go ice fishing in hopes of finding a monster of their own instead.

Film Score: 2.5/5 Disc Score: 3/5