Director – Larry Fessenden
Cast – Ron Perlman, James LeGros, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford, Kevin Corrigan, Jamie Harrold, Pato Hoffman, Joanne Shenandoah, Larry Fessenden
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I first came across this film one night while scoping the DVD section at my local Wal-Mart. Adorned with some pretty fantastic quotes from critics, I was forced to grasp the DVD and give it a thorough front/back cover inspection. Much to my surprise, I noticed that this film starred Ron Perlman, which was an immediate indicator that I had to see this flick. I was iffy on how well this flick would come out though, given this flick is written and directed by Larry Fessenden and his huge forehead, which gave us the mediocre 2001 DTV flick Wendigo, which way too many horror fans are aware of for some odd reason. Well, I am glad I went into this flick not expecting anything great, and I believe that prepared me for just how bad this flick really is.
Ron Perlman(Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army) stars as Ed Pollack, a no-nonsense manager of an isolated group of employees employed by the American oil company KIC Corporation. The American people are seeking energy independence, and the oil underneath the Alaskan tundra may be the key to such independence, and KIC is there to acquire the oil. Due to the environmental nature regarding such oil drilling, KIC is forced to employ environmental scientist James Hoffman to sign off on any and all activities that would have an effect on the environment. When Hoffman has doubts over Pollack’s idea to speed up the oil drilling, this causes a rift between the two mentally polar opposites, but that proves to be the least of their worries. When one of their crewmen is found dead one morning, a videotape showing his last moments alive shows a troubling situation to Mr. Hoffman. Hoffman believes that fumes from under the tundra are causing the hallucinations the young crewman was suffering from, and when another death occurs it seems Hoffman may just in fact be right. Unfortunately for the crew, Hoffman is only partly right about what is going on, as the true nature behind the deaths is far worse than imagined.
I find it funny that this film is titled The Last Winter, because this is definitely the very LAST time I am going to watch this flick. At first I was hooked on what was going on, mainly because the isolated and very cold environment alongside a research/work facility reminded me a lot of John Carpenter’s The Thing, so naturally I was hoping I would get some decent conflict from whatever antagonist this film had in store me. The atmosphere was already set, all I needed was just a moderately creepy antagonist with some moderate execution and this film would have been a positive watch, but as you can tell by now…that was not the case.
We are left in the dark throughout the majority of the film as to what is really going on out in the slowly warming tundra, and unless you are wide awake with nothing to do, as I was when I viewed this flick, you will be in for a very boring ride. In all honesty, we do not get the slightest amount of antagonistic conflict until over an hour into the film(I want to say about 75 minutes into the flick is the best element) and by the climax I still had no real clue as to what was going on, and I never found out either. It is because of this overly long and worthless development that this film paced so very slow and was such a boring watch.
Ron Perlman was fun to watch, as he always is, and I really wanted this to be a fun watch because of that. I would love to see him excel in the horror realm outside of the Hellboy series, but this flick just cannot do that for him at this point. Oh well, I should have expected so.
Overall, this is a poor watch that I recommend you stay away from unless you somehow feel you can enjoy this more than I did(doubtful). Nothing really happens in this film, AT ALL, and I was left with a new definition of “wasted time’ in my dictionary.