Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I gotta admit that this whole global warming thing has me baffled. You see it’s not global warming itself that confuses me but the fact that somehow it’s turned into a political issue. Abortion… either you’re for it or you’re against it. Gay marriage, either you’re for it or you’re against it. Capitol punishment, either one is for it or one is against it. Global warming on the other hand, it would seem to be me at least, that either it exists or it doesn’t. Now if one does a little research on the issue most people seem to agree that the earth is getting warmer, but the hot button political issue appears to be the effects of the warming earth with the Pinkos saying that it will eventually lead to our doom and the Nazi’s saying that a little extra heat never hurt anybody. Writer / Director Larry Fressenden is obviously a tree hugging lib as his ice cold horror film ‘The Final Winter’ tells a fictional tale of what could happen if this thing goes unchecked. Mainly that mystical monsters will kill us all.

In the dead of winter… or summer… hell, the movie takes place in Alaska so I guess it’s pretty much winter all year round for all I know, an American oil company has dispatched a team to build an ice road so that it can do some oil exploring. Leading this team is the aggressively obnoxious Ed Pollock (Ron Perlman) who at all costs wants this project to go through, but standing in his way is an environmental consultant hired by his company, for appearances sake quite honestly, named James Hoffman (James LeGros) who for some odd reason didn’t get the memo that he’s only there for show and instead is trying to do his job. The weirdness starts happening early when young Maxwell McKinder (Zach Gilford) swears he sees something out in the night. Whatever Maxwell thought he might have seen has freaked him out pretty badly and his colleagues urges Ed to send the loon on home, but Ed thinks he just needs to relax and simply sends the young man to his room. He probably should have sent him on home.

Now The Crazy is pretty much getting into everybody at this frozen remote location, with the exception of Ed, the tree hugger and Abby (Connie Britton), the woman who is between the both of them. The tree hugger thinks that perhaps it’s some gas that has been set free due to the warming climate which is causing The Crazy, some of our Native Americans amongst our crew thinks it’s the ancient spirits coming back to take revenge due to the rape of their sacred land, but good ol’ Ed thinks they’re all insane and that the job must go on… at least until… Oh well it doesn’t look like it’s going to matter much anyway because this is The Last Winter. For like everybody.

Mr. Fressenden’s film ‘The Last Winter’ has a lot of good things working for it. Similar to John Carpenter’s all time classic ‘The Thing’ Fressenden uses the icy cold environment to maximum effect as our surroundings are almost a character in itself and you can almost feel the frost coming out of the characters mouths as they speak. Also similar to ‘The Thing’ there is this underlying sense of dread that is bubbling underneath which makes for a very eerie and ominous film watching experience. However, unlike ‘The Thing’ which eventually erupted into terror, horror, mayhem and chaos. This never really happened in ‘The Last Winter’.

The pace in this film was far too deliberate, at least for my taste, and considering how deliberate and methodically paced this movie was, the payoff for all of our patience was just a little bit disappointing. Some of the issue with the movie could be that it never settles in on what kind of film it wants to be. On one hand it’s a primer on the ramifications of global warming and the violation of the environment, on the other hand it’s a psychological type thriller since we not quite sure what’s causing people to act the way that they are, or maybe it’s a monster movie of sorts, but then we’re not completely sure what, if anything our crazy people are seeing is real or not.

Good performances from Perlman, LeGros, Kevin Corrigan and the rest of the cast, combined with the outstanding visuals and cool atmosphere kept us interested in the narrative throughout, despite how slowly it travels along, and though ‘The Last Winter’ is far from a poor movie, it still left me with a feeling of wanting just a little bit more than it ended up delivering.

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