January tends to be a challenging month, and for many areas of the world the frozen landscape only makes matters worse. The next segment of my #Horrorthon365 project focuses on these frost bites, stories where the cold is as much a character — or even monster — as the people at its mercy. Tales where the snow itself slays, and where the deep winter chill enters hearts and souls, leading to extreme human cruelty.
In Larry Fessenden’s 2006 ‘The Last Winter,’ the permafrost in the remote ice fields of Alaska has been melting around an oil-hunting base and environmental monitoring site. Tensions are already high with the crew, as the corporate oil riggers clash with the environmentalists also on site, who are particularly concerned about the scarily warm temperatures. After a young crew member Maxwell (Zach Gilford) goes missing and returns acting bizarrely, Hoffman (James LeGros) becomes concerned that noxious gases may be escaping and scrambling the crew’s brains. But brash oil drilling team leader Pollack (Ron Perlman) refuses to entertain the notion, even as more and more inexplicable things continue happening.
One by one the team succumb to natural and unnatural causes, as they fight for survival against a potentially supernatural foe as well as the unfortunate consequences of environmental damage. The desolate icy tundras exude an undeniable chill even from a distance that adds to the creeping terror of ‘The Last Winter.’
This is an unsettling watch, even though the some of the special effects haven’t aged well. The message, though, is what’s important. Especially as in the years since this film came out a number of different ancient viruses and bacteria are back in circulation because of melting ice caps.
✨Caribou/5 stars. Highly recommend this film that is not at all like ‘The Thing’ even though it sounds similar.✨
Zuzu Zombie’s #Horrorthon365 project is a collection of eclectic genre watchlists with accompanying microreviews to suit the changing seasons. Horrorthon365 was sparked by a gnarly hand injury and carpal tunnel surgery gone awry, hence the flash-style reviews. After a wicked fall at home and brutal elbow fracture that required surgery, posts will be sporadic until I’m healed. In the meantime, browse the entire collection here.