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The Last Winter Reviews

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WrenchLT
WrenchLT

Super Reviewer

May 29, 2011
Supernatural horror with an in-your-face environmental message at its heart. It's all about a crew of oil workers camped in the snowy Alaskan landscape who start to experience odd occurances linked to an oil well. Really quite disappointed with this overall, it didn't turn out to be as creepy or scary as it could have been and it's too damn slow. It does develop a good atmosphere and has one good scare, but the film doesn't really come to life until the 50 minute mark. It had the potential to be a lot better but it was still ok.
creepfreak
creepfreak

Super Reviewer

March 10, 2010
Great performances, cold eerie atmosphere, and chilling story. This movie is pretty creepy, and although slowly paced, it's still spooky.
Brian D

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2008
boring sums it up
thefog1331
thefog1331

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2009
Somewhat effective thriller, somewhat slow drama and somewhat comparable to 'The Happening'.
Not bad but not developed enough to be really good.
Bonus points however for Jeff Grace who turns out a great score.
Beefy
Beefy

Super Reviewer

November 10, 2007
An odd film. Hints of an interesting premise but it never completely congeals. Decent performances across the board.
_kelly .

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2008
Like a modernized remake of "The Thing" that falls between mediocre and just bearable.

If you need a "small team lost in the snow surrounded by supernatural/alien creatures" movie, this has that. The creatures aren't impressive, but some of the acting hits stride at moments.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

July 20, 2008
I was not expecting this to be anywhere NEAR good. Larry Fessenden directed it and I fucking loathed that self-indulgent piece of shit Wendigo. It looked like ass and was written about as well as you'd expect from someone who sniffs paint. Honestly, my friends and I just picked it up as a laughable horror movie (along with that treasure Marronnier).

But surprise! The Last Winter is a fine film. Not a very strong genre effort, as the movie is pretty thin on the scares until its last 15 or 20 minutes, but it is observant and intelligently written. One may view the environmental messages as a bit heavy, but I looked at them as an allegory for the apocalypse, which is a concept this film deals with very uniquely. Fessenden trusts his viewers' intelligence here, leaving room for implication but providing plenty of compelling narrative bits to nibble on as well. The acting is solid and the characters are fascinatingly restrained - emotional exposition is much more controlled than it was in Wendigo, which was stuffed ad nauseam with HAPPY FAMILY FOOTAGE to better underline the upcoming tragedy.

I think The Last Winter loses a lot of ground with some really fake-looking animal ghosts which were supposed to be spooky but instead took me out of the movie. I know that it's a limitation of the budget, but this movie gave me enough faith in Fessenden's abilities that he could have developed something not as visual. Sure, nature had to strike back somehow, but did it have to do it with shitty CGI deer?
gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

April 27, 2008
Well acted suspense thriller with obvious parallels to 'The Thing'. Its low budget effects hamper the ending.
Jacob P

Super Reviewer

October 8, 2011
A strange, yet suspenseful flick.
William G

Super Reviewer

September 12, 2007
The Thing meets An Inconvenient Truth, and it gives me the creeps.
Christopher B

Super Reviewer

May 22, 2010
I had no idea this film had such a great cast.  James LeGros, Ron Pearlman and Kevin Corrigan in the Antarctic.  I haven?t liked any of Fessenden?s previous films but I enjoyed this one so much that I might revisit them to give them a second chance.  A good story with great characters and an excellent atmosphere.  I love how there is a constant wind drone on the soundtrack and the Antarctic setting seems so oppressive.  For fans of the slow burn, though be warned, if you get up in arms about bad CGI you might want to skip this one.
Henrik S

Super Reviewer

August 4, 2009
Every generation has its end-of-the-world hoax craze and many movies feeding on that trend. The atomic age, the cold war age, the virus age etc. It seems that we are living in the climate change hoax age, something that is only believed by people who watch to much television and do not know anything about climate dynamics. Anyway, this movie is a good example of using that craze. Set in a remote arctic station, the inhabitants encounter the fury and horror of an ecosystem striking back. While the movie has all the god ingedients of a b-movie picture, a b-cast, good direction, good music, good setting, it ultimately fails by using a conceptual "enemy" instead of a real one. The wind, the light, the dark spirit, the heat etc, for one reason or the other (none apparent) kill the scientists. It is a shame because the movie starts out quite interesting but becomes a left-wing blob 30 minutes in. There is of course the aspect of cabin fever as in all survival horror movies, but it is orphaned and poorly executed.

You can miss this one, a fail.

H.
Patrick D

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2009
This film is a well constructed, character-driven story that plays on the puplic alarmism of global warming. Engaging as shit and creepy as hell.
But then there's the last 10 minutes that slap you with a large lame stick and leave a bad bruise. If that ending was not in, this film would be considerably better.
Hellshocked
Hellshocked

Super Reviewer

March 18, 2009
Larry Fessenden has proven to be a very good director of very low budget horror films. He makes monster films where the monster is an afterthought, if there is a monster at all to begin with. His knack for atmosphere, creepiness, tension and claustrophobia is almost unparalleled but it is his quirks and idyosincratic flourishes that really make his films shine.

Consider the next to final scene, when the reality of what has been happening is revealed. A lot of it is filmed from 1st person POV which then cuts to a similar shot that took place decades ago and has no relation whatsoever to what is currently happening and everything to do with who it is currently happening to. The transition is not jarring, but natural and oddly affecting. The combination of music, tone and the artistry behind the combination of shots makes it work beautifully. A lesser filmmaker's attempt might have resulted in "pretension" (that most odious of words) but Fessenden, whose films are composed of precisely such moments, posesses a deep understanding of the language of film. He is proudly a genre filmmaker but one who does not limit himself by genre trappings, but by his own imagination (and, admitedly, budget).

"The Last Winter" is not a very good film, certainly nowhere near as good as his "Wendigo". Its screenplay is a complete mess, the editing during the first third is all over the place and the characters contradict eachother and even themselves. Yet...the film is so atmospheric, desolate and peppered with small moments of beauty that it is almost worth watching. Even within its confused and confusing screenplay there are scenes that are so clearly allegorical (a particular exchange between two characters is clearly meant to represent the two opposing views by scientists and fundies on climate change in US culture, their arguments and their reality, for example) that with more consistent writing we could have wound up with something special. What we have is what we have, however, and while it is not exactly good it is certainly further confirmation that Fessenden is the real deal.
spaulsson
spaulsson

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2008
Totally worthless.
February 1, 2012
I enjoyed this more then I think I should have. The story follows a group out in the Barren snow fields in north alaska(yes, i watched because it was based in my home state) and when strange things start to happen everything goes crazy. It's not so much a horror film as a thriller that near the end had a moment or two that had me going. Although, I gotta admit it was pretty creative with the thing that was there, idk, that one is hard to discribe. Ron Perlman did a good job and was another reason I watched, mainly because he is a character actor and does good work in almost everything he does.
juliantoepfer
October 7, 2011
Divided on this one. Its obviously hard to watch this film and not think 'The Thing' immediately, but it does manage to evolve into something different.

Alot of very good things going on, including some pretty decent acting from an under the radar cast, a good script, and some excellent plot building and creepy feel. The tension is palpable, and it is impossible to not feel a building sense of dread.

A couple of definite scary moments highlight this sense of dread (one scene involving a playback of found footage is terrific, and I had to rewind and watch it again), but for the most part, it rides on this aura without delivering a definitive moment. This is where the film withers a bit, because it just doesn't deliver on this front. The mysterious 'force' or 'creature' or whatever it is is just not cool.

The film definitely beats you over the head with a message that (while true) is certainly not tactful. The first half of the run time is superior to the second, as the middle act hits a major lull. Picks back up again in the third, but again, fails to deliver a passable climax. A well executed film with alot of positive aspects and aura, but can't quite pass the boundary of 'good'.
MicahF
June 21, 2011
This sorry attempt at a horror film is riddled with bad acting, poor plot development (aided by lackluster writing), and an embarrassingly clumsy handling of its alarmist plot. It fails to be even remotely scary or environmentally provocative. The only thing interesting here is the vast and infinitely white scenery that is sadly underutilized.
February 27, 2011
How much do I love Ron Perlman? I watched this whole dang film, that's how much. Does Mother Nature really need to send phantom Wendigo (Wendigos?) after us because we're ruining the planet? A good cast, but nothing really to work with.
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