Jack Frost (1997)

Jack Frost (1997)

He’s chillin…and killin!

Serial killer Jack Frost is on his way to be executed when his prison transport is involved in a nasty accident with a lorry carrying some experiment genetic material. Covered in the chemicals, his DNA becomes mutated, turning him into a snowman and giving the ability to freeze and melt at will. With his new found abilities, Frost sets off to get revenge on the sheriff who busted him and anyone else who gets in his way.

 

If you’re looking for the mushy, kiddie Jack Frost film with Michael Keaton then you’ve come to the worst place possible. This is about as far away in the opposite direction that you could be. But I know which I’d rather be sitting down to watch and it doesn’t involve ex-Batmans! With such an absurd premise for a horror flick, how can you really go wrong with this Jack Frost? If you’ve even made it as far as to putting the VHS/DVD in your player or downloaded/streamed the film, then you’ve passed the test and can sit back and enjoy what low budget film making can offer when it’s at its most creatively ludicrous!

Jack Frost embraces it’s outlandish theme and milks it for all it’s worth. You’ll hate this if you have a low tolerance for cheese and camp but look beyond that and you’ll see a true love for the genre and a desire to make this as credible as possible – we are dealing with a killer snowman but the film knows that too and runs with the prospect. Admittedly it’s a one-note premise but the script keeps things zipping along briskly enough and goes through the requisite slasher elements like a do-it-yourself manual. Basically moving from one clichéd character to the next, Jack slices his way across the town in a variety of Christmas-themed set pieces and accompanied by festive music, the highlight of which probably being death by Christmas tree lights. There’s also an infamous scene in which a nubile young woman (played by Shannon Elizabeth) is on the wrong end of Jack’s carrot when he re-materializes himself in her bath. It all adds to the fun.

The actual snowman suit looks hilarious – no CGI here – and you would never have thought that something like that could be so deadly. There’s not a lot of movement in it so most of the shots of Jack are just of the snowman standing there. He’s got the ability to melt and re-freeze at will which leads for great POV shot as he trickles across the floor in water form. Director Michael Clooney recognises how limited the suit is and uses the camera as best as he can to hide its weaknesses, with the only real problems coming in the finale when the snowman is expected to do more than just stand around.  How do you kill a snowman anyway? If you melt him, he can re-freeze and come back to life. The characters in the film try almost everything including attacking him with hairdryers. In the end it comes down to anti-freeze to put an end to his frost ways. Or not as the sequel would prove.

Scott McDonald relishes the role of Jack Frost, briefly appearing in human form at the beginning but mainly cast for his sarcastic voice. Snowman Frost comes off as some ice-cold version of Freddy Krueger, firing off a series of puns and one-liners, most of which hit the mark but some of which are groan-worthy. Christopher Allport is a bit bland as the sheriff but can deadpan like the best of the film and makes sure that the ridiculous shenanigans seem funnier than they should be by his stoic reactions. There’s a killer snowman on the loose but it could be Jack the Ripper for the seriousness which with he takes his job. The rest of the townspeople are played up to be annoying caricatures and even the aforementioned Ms Elizabeth doesn’t appear fully nude in the bath scene, this coming before her big break in American Pie.

 

Destined to be a cult classic, Jack Frost is one of the few really cheap and tacky films that plays on its own ridiculous premise and turns it into something hilariously enjoyable. If you’re looking to a film about a killer snowman to try and be anything but cheesy fun, then get a damned life. It’s the festive horror flick which keeps on giving!

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

 

 

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