Case Number 14997: Small Claims Court


Lionsgate // 2007 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 14th, 2008

The Charge


The Case

Apparently, this film is inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's "Cool Air," a work I'm unfamiliar with, but maybe it means something to you. For anyone not in the know, Chill is essentially a horror-mystery about a demented scientist with dreams of unlocking the key to immortality.

It starts with an up-and-coming writer who's desperate to find gainful employment, and like all wannabe professional writers, he accepts a job in a convenience store. Awesome! And it is, as he starts getting paid and finds himself entangled in a potentially red-hot romance with an attractive brunette (Ashley Laurence, Hellraiser).

The owner of the store is chap named Dr. Munoz, and as you can probably surmise from the opening sentence he is indeed demented. He's playing with some seriously unholy mojo, and, working in conjunction with some hapless researchers, has found a way to extend his life-span -- at the expense of innocent victims, of course. For some reason, it now falls to our well-read hero and his knit cap to deep-six the Satanic operation and free the masses from the persistent fear of getting abducted and have their faces sawed off.

And that's your movie. It's not too bad, actually, well-executed on all fronts -- acting, design, direction, pacing -- totaling in a fairly engaging supernatural horror adventure that delivers. On paper, the crazed-scientist-harvesting-victims-to-live-forever is a conceit that has certainly been used and over-used, but writer/director Serge Rodnunsky puts together a winning formula.

Dr. Munoz is an effective heavy, as any psychotic a-hole that carves up heads can be. The setting of a convenience store that gives way to a cryogenic lab of horrors is a little weird but, whatever, evil scientists are typically eccentric. Our heroes are fine as well, the standout being Ashley Laurence.

For the horror buffs, there's a moderate amount of gore in the way of wounding. The facial carving is effectively off-putting and when the @#$% hits the fan at the end, the bloodletting is kicked up a notch.

I literally have nothing more to add. Chill may not be the second-coming of supernatural slasher horror, but it's a well-put-together piece of shock entertainment, and boasts a slick pedigree.

The no-frills disc: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround and no extras save for trailers.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb