Review: Hypothermia / Director: James Felix McKenney / Screenplay: James Felix McKenney / Starring: Michael Rooker, Blanche Baker, Amy Chang, Don Wood, Greg Finley, Benjamin Forster/ Release Date: Out Now (R1 only)
Hypothermia starts off with an interesting premise, but falls apart during the second and third act. Ray Pelletier (Rooker) and his family (Baker, Chang, Forster) decide to spend a quiet weekend ice fishing on a local lake. However, they're interrupted by an obnoxious father and son team (Don Wood and Greg Finley) who set up camp nearby. An uneasy truce is struck, but as they resume their chilly sport, they discover something below the waters. Something as big as a sturgeon (apparently that's big). They set out to capture it, but OMG, it turns out to be a prehistoric creature bent on protecting its habitat.
Let's get the obvious gripes out of the way first. If this thing’s been down there for that long, why hasn’t anyone spotted it before? (Prehistoric, big as a sturgeon – sounds pretty noticeable.) And when it starts killing people, why don't they, you know, play the evolutionary trump and run away as fast as their legs will carry them? Also, the creature itself is silly – like a bad villain in a wetsuit from an Ultraman episode from the '60s. On the upside, Rooker is always great to watch and Wood makes for an interesting antagonist. The rest of the characters, though, are pretty much by the numbers and only there to service the Ten Little Indians-style, who'll-get-bumped-off-next plot.
McKenney is not without talent. He does a good job as a director in keeping the pace moving, and Hypothermia is a well shot film with several nice, wintry vistas and excellent, immersive sound. It's his scripting that's off, disintegrating by the second act into all sorts of fishy improbabilities and nonsense. The fact that this film was made in 2010 and has been kept on ice until now says it all. Sniff before investigating.