Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

As anybody who has read any of these pages knows, or maybe you don’t, but our main goal is to help people achieve their dreams. Like that Home Makeover dude. Today we’re going to help some hopeful filmmakers get their own Sci-Fi Original movie made. I know you have that earth shattering, completely original, cutting edge script that you’ve already written, but get rid of that because it’s serving us no purpose on the Sci-Fi Channel. First thing you need is a semi-topical reality show concept. This movie ‘Ice Road Terror’ obviously uses ‘Ice Road Truckers’ as its launching point, but we’re going to use ‘Pawn Stars’ as ours. Now we need to unleash a long hidden monster in some way. This movie has some Alaskan miners exploding stuff they didn’t need to be exploding which sets the monster free, in our movie ‘Pawn Shop Apocalypse’ we’re going to have an ancient talisman, stolen by our smarmy pawn shop owner played by Lorenzo Lamas set the monster free. Genius? You bet it is. The rest is paint-by-numbers Sci-Fi channel S.O.P, which includes cut rate CGI and an overall production budget around a thousand bucks and before you know it a Sci-Fi Original has been birthed. All I ask for is a producers credit.

As already mentioned some Alaskan miners have exploded a whole in the ground releasing the Whichiwa. I think that’s what they called it. Make sure you cast a native guy who is flush with mystical beast knowledge, like Tanner (David Lyle) in this movie, as that is a crucial role in these kinds of films. Anyway, Alaskan miners must not be very filling because the Whichiwa, looking like a giant lizard with a touch of croc, just eats these guys and eats these guys but never seems to get full. We wonder what this thing was eating while it was under the ice for a million years. As Tanner will tell us, he thought the Wichiwa was just a story that people told kids to scare them. Who the hell are the people making these horrible bedtime stories to tell children? What’s up with that? I had Dr. Seuss, Tanner’s folks were telling him about a mythical beast that lives in the ice that feasts on human flesh. Now sleep tight son.

Now to our heroes. Rachel Harris (Brea Grant), the world’s most adorable EPA employee has to get to this blast site to make sure they’re all on the up and up. The odd thing is that she had to hitch a ride to get to the truck stop depot, then has to hitch a ride to get to the blast site. I know we’re in a recession and all but you’d think the government would spring for some transportation for the girl. Fortunately for Rachel,

hardcore truckers Jack (Ty Olsson) and Neil (Dylan Neal) are on their way across the treacherous ice road terrain to deliver some blow-up stuff. On this three hour trip, Rachel and Jack will fall in love. If you want to do me a favor, leave that bit of melodrama completely out of ‘Pawn Shop Apocalypse’.

Our heroes hit the site and everybody’s gone. They do some looking around and find nothing but spare body parts. What happened? Is this relevant? Of course it isn’t. Where I come from, dismembered body parts means ‘we leave immediately’, but these cats have to investigate which of course leads them to the still starving Whichiwa. Now it’s time to boogie, but that Whichiwa gets around pretty damn good and completely wrecks the big rigs forcing our heroes to hoof it, in subzero temperatures and 2,000 inches of snow to the Lowman’s house. Terry (Michael Hogan) and Beryl (Merrilyn Gann) will regret not shooting these clowns on sight.

Now it’s ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ time as our heroes and the poor Lowman’s are holed in the house with the hungry Whichiwa waiting outside to cause a ruckus. You know what’s odd about the Whichiwa? It can completely wreck an eighteen wheeler, but a quarter inch of particle board blocking a window causes it all kinds of problems. Hmmm… I don’t know how they are going to kill this thing considering its bullet proof, electrocution proof, immune to cold and probably immortal… but I know they are. Because Jack and Rachel’s love has to flourish under the Aurora Borealis. Just shoot me now.

What can we tell you that you don’t already know? Directed by low budget veteran Terry Ingram, we know going in, bearing a minor miracle, that ‘Ice Road Terror’ will not be a good movie, but the more pressing question is ‘what is the level of suckage?’ As it turns out the level of suckage is reasonably low. In real world terms that makes it a D+ as far as regular movies go, but around a B- for a Sci-Fi original. That’s positive stuff right there.

Sure, there were the usual shortcomings such as a CGI monster that looked like ass, but even he was better than expected, and the movie was filled with plenty of unnecessarily painful melodrama because even cheap CGI monsters cost money so we gotta fill the screen up with something. And you gotta love the ‘Monster Vision’ where we got the opportunity to see things from the monster’s POV. Everything was tinted orange, because we all know Whichiwa’s see everything in orange, and it also only saw body heat. Though when we were looking through its eyes, it looked to us that it could see pretty much everything. Except it was orangey. And the Whichiwa did kind of go out like a bitch.

But the performances were actually pretty good. Dylan Neal seemed to be having a good time with the material, Ty Olsson and Brea Grant were working hard and treating this monster movie as if it were their personal ‘Richard III’, I enjoyed the fact that the monster was a virtual bottomless pit of people guzzling, and I always love the end of these movies where everyone is freaking dead, except the couple of folks that matter, and they could care less about those dead people. Look off into the sunset, smile, and roll the credits. That’s outstanding. Love will now flourish.

‘Pawn Shop Apocalypse’ will be different though. Make it happen aspiring filmmakers.

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