2. Jack Frost

It's your Horror Review Advent Calendar.
25 Christmas themed movies.
Ho, ho, ho.

Director: Michael Cooney (1996)
Starring: Michael Keaton, Scott MacDonald, Shannon Elizabeth
Find it online: IMDB

Tip for bastards: when selling your secondhand copy of Jack Frost, switch the DVD inside with a copy of the shitty Michael Keaton movie of the same name. And that, sirs and madams, is how you piss off a horror fan. And for equally hilarious results (actual hilarity may vary by degrees of your own stupidity) try the same trick in reverse. Because there's nothing more Christmassy than traumatising children with a rapey snowman horror movie.

Serial killer Jack Frost is transformed into a living snowman after being sprayed with some unnamed ‘genetic material’. Given his name, it’s pretty apt that he should become a snowman. It’s a piece of synchronicity rarely seen outside of a Batman comic. They might as well have called him Snowy McSnowman. We're introduced to him via a funny and cruel title sequence which describes Jack and his crimes in the style of a bedtime story (complete with traumatised child and terrifying narrator). It's the second best bit in the movie (the best bit, unsurprisingly, involves Shannon Elizabeth and a carrot) and really gets the whole thing going.

Jack is caught by a small-town sheriff named Sam Tiler (Chris Allport) a nice-guy family man who accidentally managed to arrest Frost when the killer was taking a pee. Sentenced to death, Frost vows unoriginal revenge. And even being turned into a giant plastic snowman isn’t gonna stop him. But, like most serial killers, he has to take his sweet time about it. Cue plenty of pointless interludes which see Jack murdering people for no reason and raping Shannon Elizabeth in the shower with a carrot. Also, and less good: too many scenes with the Sheriff and his twee family.

This should be funny – it sounds like it should be The Best Thing Ever – but Jack Frost is just too slow, too low-budget and not nearly dark or shlocky enough to work. The first couple of Child’s Play movies showed that cartoony killers can work, given the right tone and direction. But Jack Frost has neither of those things. It says a lot that this is the most prominent thing writer/director Michael Cooney ever made. The script is naff and the direction is as flat as Shannon Elizabeth's style of 'acting'. If only it were as voluptuous as her chest, yo ho ho.

Everyone agreed that Stifler's hilarious pranks were getting out of hand.

But alas, the biggest problem with Jack Frost is Jack himself. As Child’s Play proved, there’s nothing particularly wrong with transforming a serial killer into something cuddly and ridiculous, but the special effects here are just terrible. And not in a good way; it’s not even enjoyable on an ironic level. Jack’s design looks so horrible and fake that it’s impossible to be either scared or amused by him. He’s voiced with no real gusto by Scott MacDonald (who looks and sounds like a low-rent Jack Nicholson), and is all crap wisecracks and non-sinister threats. He’s no Robert Englund or Brad Dourif, that’s for sure. Likewise, the gore is pretty skimpy and there aren’t many standout kill scenes (Shannon Elizabeth aside). This is one movie that I wouldn’t actually mind seeing remade; preferably with a decent costume budget and some verve to the direction.

Still, a fun concept can cover a lot of cracks, and those less bothered by special effects and realism (realism in a movie about a killer snowman and Shannon Elizabeth? I hate me) will have a lot of fun with Jack Frost. Those with a sense of humour should entirely disregard this review and watch the film anyway. After all, Christmas is a time for watching shitty movies about talking snowmen.


1 comment:

  1. I agree, a disappointing film.