Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

Yeti (2008)

"Surviving the crash was only the beginning..."

Plot

A college football team must find a way to survive the harsh climate of the Himalayas when their plane crash lands. With little hope of rescue, their situation becomes even worse when they find out that they are the only food source for a Yeti.

 

Before I really get started, I must say that I think this the single most ridiculously contrived plot invented solely for the purpose of filling the film with American teenagers. Why couldn't it have been a plane full of adults on a routine flight that crashes? Why does it have to be an annoying group of American teenagers? Why are the local mountain rescue team American (since the film is supposed to be set in Nepal)? Given how weakly the film tries to re-create the Himalayas, they could have easily set the film somewhere a little less remote, a little more American and still used the Yeti as a monster like Abominable did. I don't think anyone will buy this as the Himalayas.


The Yeti is definitely a legendary monster that should have been treated a little better in the movies but with a plot like this, there's no wonder the killer Yeti sub-genre is few and far between. Yeti was the next instalment in the ‘Maneater’ series made for the Sci-Fi Channel, featuring such classics as Shark Swarm, Grizzly Rage, Maneater and Croc. Hell, given how much creative freedom the writers used in coming up with the plot, they might as well have put a giant crocodile up there in the snow for all the difference a Yeti makes.


The first half of Yeti doesn't even appear to be about the Yeti anyway, brief prologue aside. The survivors of the plane crash ponder about waiting for rescue or making an attempt to save themselves. Given that it's clearly warm enough up there for most of the characters to walk around without face masks or head gear and simply wearing jeans and trainers, then I don't really think their main problem is freezing to death. The characters are forced to make an Alive-like decision about whether to eat the unlucky ones who didn't survive the crash. The film doesn't do a great job of conveying the time scale between the crash and the cannibalism and a few of the characters seem to turn to their old friends for food a little too quickly for my liking.


Whilst Yeti is in Alive-mode, it's also in token horror character mode with the straight-laced hero, the token jackass, the vain cheerleader more concerned with her looks, the nerdy stoner (couldn't really tell what he was) as well as the obligatory elder character in the form of the coach. Then after the half-way stage the film abandons this survival story and just throws the Yeti at them. It's a pretty weird mix of genres and the film would have worked a lot better had the Yeti just been terrorising them from the get-go.



Yeti is surprisingly light on the yeti action for a good two-thirds of the film which doesn't help. There's a reasonable cast of characters waiting to get eaten but the film doesn't space the deaths out, instead confining the carnage to the final third. However when the carnage rolls, I'll at least say that it's gory. Limbs get ripped off. Throats are bitten into. Heads are crushed between the yeti's hands. And one victim has her head squashed into a pulp underneath the yeti's foot. The film's highlight comes when the yeti rips off the leg of a victim and then proceeds to batter him to death with it. If only the rest of the film had shown this much creativity and silliness instead of playing it as straight as possible. The humour would have worked better if it was intentional as opposed to something unintentional like the ridiculous finale where one of the Yeti holds onto a guy who is hanging on to the edge of a cliff. Cliffhanger this ain't!


The yeti itself looks terrible. The man-in-a-suit might have worked better if they shot most of the attacks at night but they bizarrely choose to show the yeti during the day for most of the film. You could buy a better fancy dress costume off eBay. When the poor stunt man is running in it, he's clearly struggling to get one foot before the other and its hilarious watching the yeti ‘sprinting’ around the snow. In other scenes the yeti is CGI and does amazing Hulk-like jumps from one spot to another. It's almost as though you're watching two different creatures in action and you'll wonder how it didn't use this super-jump power earlier in the film.

 

Final Verdict

Yeti is way too cheesy to be taken seriously so I don't understand why the writers didn't play up the comedy aspect a little more. The film makes you laugh a lot at how terrible the whole scenario is so surely they could have used that a little more to the film's advantage. After all someone must have wanted to get some cheap laughs with the ridiculous Yeti costume.



 

Yeti


Also Known As: Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon


Director(s): Paul Ziller


Writer(s): Mark L. Lester (story), Rafael Jordan


Actor(s): Marc Menard, Carly Pope, Adam O'Byrne, Elfina Luk, Brandon Jay McLaren


Duration: 87 mins