Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Thaw

The girl from Superbad and the twin brother of the guy who played Iceman in the X Men movies, along with some other young folks, go to visit an Arctic expedition site (run by Val Kilmer!), only no one seems to be there when they arrive. Turns out that the team discovered a well preserved woolly mammoth, which was unfortunately infested with an ancient parasite eager to snack on some new hosts. The kids go from terror to paranoia to murder trying to avoid getting infected by the nasty, giant, man-eating tapeworms. Turns out that global warming is to blame (god damn you George Bush! or whoever created global warming!), so as an added bonus we're treated to a bunch of heavy-handed dialogue and preaching in between the nasty-bug scenes.

The Thaw is an acceptably entertaining gross-out monster movie, nothing special, dragged down somewhat by it's awkward and inappropriate desire to preach. I'm not really sure what global warming has to do with giant parasites, or which dipshit thought that a horror movie was the right place to talk about it. Seriously, what were they expecting, that the audience is going to take life lessons away from a movie about giant tapeworms eating sexy college students? Like people are going to stop driving their Hummer because they watched The Thaw.

This one reminded me a lot of The Ruins, though not as good, which is interesting because that film actually did star Iceman and not his brother. Both films have a group of young people forcibly quarantined with a terrifying and bizarre monster, both feature extensive sequences where nasty little creepy-crawlies burrow under peoples' skin, both have showstopper scenes involving impromptu amputation.

Anyways, after-school-special sermonizing notwithstanding, there are enough well executed squirm-inducing moments in The Thaw to warrant it a slight recommendation.


Joseph said...

I felt the same way about Larry Fessenden's otherwise excellent but THE LAST WINTER. It's new-agey message about respecting nature makes the speech at the end of ON DEADLY GROUND look subtle, and ruins an otherwise smart and atmospheric little horror flick. And the frustrating thing is, it's not like I disagree with their point -- it just comes across as forced and trite. Taking a real problem and then creating a fictional result which will never happen in real life trivilaizes the issue and changes the potential stakes in a way which is not all that meaningful or rewarding.

Dan said...

I noticed a few parallels between THE THAW and LAST WINTER, although LAST WINTER is clearly the superior film. I mean, if you thought the message in LW was forced and trite, then I don't think you could make it halfway through THE THAW without snapping off your DVD player in annoyance.

Looking back on this post, I feel like I come off as if I'm saying that horror movies can't have serious messages or bring up real issues. Which is not how I feel at all, I just don't like it when the do so clumsily, or pointlessly, or in a preachy way.

More genre movies need to use THEY LIVE as the model. It has bluntly obvious social criticism, but entertainingly so, and it never seems like it's lecturing the audience.