Sometimes They Come Back…For More (1998)

Sometimes They Come Back...For More (1998)

Hell Has Finally Frozen Over!

Captain Sam Cage and his colleague Major O’Grady are sent to a remote Antarctica military base when communications go down and signs point to something terrible occurring. When they arrive, they find that all but two of the crew are dead. One of the team had found something Satanic buried deep in the ice and all hell broke loose.

 

Sometimes They Come Back was a little-known Stephen King short story so it was very apt that the film adaptation in 1991 headed the same way – little known anonymity. It’s not on anyone’s Top 10 Most Famous Stephen King films and rightly so. The rise of King’s popularity as an author as well as the success of the film adaptation of Carrie led to studios and producers approaching King to adapt all of his work, even the minor stories. King’s Night Shift collection of short stories from 1978 provided a fertile ground for filmmakers looking to adapt a story. The likes of Maximum Overdrive (penned from the story ‘Trucks’), Graveyard Shift, The Mangler and Children of the Corn all emanate from the collection, as well as Sometimes They Come Back (though it was originally published in 1974).

Like many of King’s less popular works, Sometimes They Come Back was turned into a TV movie. Featuring the story of a teacher tormented by the vengeful spirit of some school bullies, it spawned two sequels. The first one, Sometimes They Come Back…Again, billed itself as a sequel but was more or less a remake. With virtually no connection to the previous two films or with King’s original story, the second sequel, Sometimes They Come Back…For More is just a throwaway TV horror movie with few redeeming features which starts off promisingly but quickly (and I mean quickly) tails off. This is no surprise given that it was originally shot under the name Frozen and was then renamed at a later date to give the illusion that it tied in to the previous two films.

The opening half owes a great deal to John Carpenter’s The Thing more than anything else with its remote Antarctic setting and something untoward happening to the crew of a base only this time it is Satanic demons instead of shape-shifting aliens. But by the time the main heroes arrive at the base early on, pretty much everyone is already dead so straight away the potential avenues for mayhem and carnage are narrowed and we’re left with the worrying problem that so few characters in a film always creates – if they’re not likeable, then you’re pretty much screwed. Though the film tries to crank up the suspense, tension and paranoia between the characters, there’s just too few of them to really make it work. The demonic aspects of the film start off quite positively, with the characters unaware of what is really going. The script gives us a few glimpses as to what is happening and the mystery slowly unravels. The problem is once the mystery has unravelled and we’re left with the actual plot about some demonic possession and Satanic resurrection, it’s not actually that engaging or exciting.

The film confines itself to the same couple of indoor sets so you never really get the sense that they are actually in an Antarctic environment. Allegedly the film was shot in Antarctica but you’d never be able to tell because the outdoor environment isn’t used to its full potential. In fact because of the insistence on shooting in the same few sets, the film looks to have a lower budget than it clearly did. All the cinematographer seems to do, instead of putting the snowy exteriors to better use, is flood a lot of the scenes in red lights to give the demonic illusion. Red on white makes for a nice contrast but it’s the only trick in the book to try and create some form of atmosphere. The film’s standout moment is a trip down an icy tunnel via a camera strapped to a remote-controlled car. It’s hardly riveting material but it was a nice idea which manages to build a bit of tension before it is cut off.

Clayton Rohner and Chase Masterson make for reasonably stereotypical but bland leads, Faith Ford adds a bit of glamour whilst trying to convince as a scientist and Max Perlich’s annoyingly whiny communications officer just grated the hell out of me. As I said at the start, having a small bunch of characters is risky if they’re not very good and this is the case with Sometimes They Come Back…For More. No one really grabs hold of your attention, no one makes themselves out to be the one you want to root for and no one exactly covers themselves in glory. It’s not entirely down to the actors as the script is too busy tying itself in knots to give these people anything worthwhile to do.

 

Though it’s easy to make comparisons with a few other isolation-themed horror films, it’s The X-Files episode Ice that Sometimes They Come Back…For More is most similar to. Ironically, in forty-five minutes of that TV show, they do far more with the remote setting than this one does in twice that time. Sometimes They Come Back…For More clearly shows that the film wasn’t designed to be a sequel and was a standalone horror before they messed around with it. I can’t say that the film would have turned out differently without the demonic aspects added in, but it can’t have been any worse.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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