Set in Alaska, Larry Fessenden's The Last Winter is the tale of an oil company team who falls victim to an invisible force - amusingly, a setting somewhat reminiscent of another eco-friendly movie, which starred Buddhist/Karateka/Blues guitar god Steven Seagall!!
Starring James LeGros (November, Zodiac) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy), the film builds up slowly, first successfully establishing an ecological plot involving opposite characters - nature against profit - before adding a dose of mystery that makes the film turn to psychological horror. From there, we're pretty much in known territories, with team members disappearing one after the other or becoming insane, while gore and special effects take over suspense. This is where spectators should start losing interest as the writer-director hammers us with clichés of the genre, from the obvious The Thing to 28 Days Later and Resident Evil.
Of course, making a genre film supposes that you must somewhat adhere to preformatted rules but since the filmmaker had higher aspirations, his work would have gained more weight he had dared to bend the rules and stick to the psychological aspect of the story. By going for cheap thrills, he clearly undermines the impact of his message, which almost turns into a gimmick.
While the esoteric dimension of the story, its ecological theme and the presence of respected actors such as LeGros and Perlman certainly make The Last Winter an interesting work, this unfortunately can't save Larry Fessenden's film from being another forgettable entry in the overcrowded horror genre.
28 Days Later
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