Judge David Johnson would like to see a movie starring vampires on roller-skates. That might be pretty cool.
Dawn is a month away.
Does this Swedish vampire import pack enough punch in the fangs to make it worth your while?
Facts of the Case
The first scene shows us soldiers retreating from a firefight and taking solace in a seemingly abandoned cabin. But something's afoot: the cabin's residents still reside there, but they're far from "alive." Yep, they're vampires and they immediately start digging into the warm, new prey.
Fast forward a handful of decades and a mother and daughter are moving into a small Swedish town that's in the middle of a month-long bout of winter darkness. Mom lands a job in a hospital where there's something shifty about a doctor and his young comatose patient.
Meanwhile, her daughter has inserted herself into the teenage social scene, but when a mysterious batch of red pills start circulating through a house party, strange side effects start occurring in the teens: eyes glowing red, teeth turning into fangs, and an insatiable lust for human blood.
Turns out the town harbors a dark secret and before the night is over, pale, pointy-teethed undead creeps will be unleashed.
Here's a nice little surprise. Frostbitten successfully blends humor and horror, producing a horror outing that flirts with a Peter Jackson-like aura. A bloody sequence with a gnome adds evidence to this theory.
The atmosphere in this thing stands out to me. There are no daylight scenes save for the opening shot, giving the film a nice dose of menace. The hospital scenes prolong the sinister feel, especially toward the end when one of the characters undergoes a startling metamorphosis and the movie borrows some moments from Aliens.
That last bit is the most action-packed of the film's major set-pieces and it's a dandy. Parallel to that is the party scene, with the teen attendees progressively getting more and more undead as the night goes on, culminating in a massacre that—sadly—we don't get to see. This is sort of a letdown one of the few complaints I'll lob at Frostbidden. While the hospital stuff was very cool this party should have been even cooler, sporting the most build-up and tension of any of the storylines. By the culmination of the thread, the violence happens entirely off-screen and we've only got the (admittedly kick-ass) gnome action. A missed opportunity here.
There's one more story arc that runs through with these other two. One of the hospital doctors pops a pill that turns him into a vampire and he is forced to cope with the effects while meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time. This provides the most mirth of the three stories (the hospital action is more straight-forward horror and action), and the fact the dad is a priest and the hapless boyfriend develops a sudden urge to gnaw on the family rabbit, yields a handful of laughs.
The gore is well-orchestrated, but again it's more an "after-the-fact" arrangement. What I really got a kick out of were the visual effects. There's some CGI work, and it looks great, specifically the vampire transformations, where we see the actors' faces morph into ghoulish visages; one big effect toward the end, when one of the vampires turns into a mega uber-vamp, is spiffy.
A nice DVD all-around from Genius: a nice, crisp 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen and a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix (in Swedish with, English subtitles). Extras include a hefty 25-minute behind-the-scenes, and a handful of deleted scenes and bloopers.
Horror, humor, well-executed and good fun, Frostbitten shows the Swedes have it where it counts in the vampire genre.
Swedish for "Not Guilty."
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
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