Director – Bryan Moore
Cast – Bryan Moore, Jack Donner, Vera Lockwood, Michael Sonye, Ron Ford
Release Year – 1999
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is a flick I came across during a search for film adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories. If you have been around the genre for a while then you know of H.P. Lovecraft, and you are most likely aware of some of the genre’s fantastic adaptations of his work. Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator and From Beyond are great, as well as The Resurrected, among many other positive titles that I can spend the rest of this review naming. The short story this flick is one I had yet to be exposed to, which coupled with the fact that this is a “short film” I decided to give this one a go, and left with a positive experience. The film is amateur in nature, but the potential reigns high, and in the end it delivers.
In Cool Air we follow Ralph Carter, a young writer who moves into an old boarding home in a search to find peace and tranquility as he continues his work. One day Ralph suffers a heart attack but is revived by a mysterious doctor living on the floor above him. Ralph quickly befriends the doctor, Dr. Munoz(Jack Donner), and Dr. Munoz soon explains to Ralph the risqué medical practices he employed, practices that have come with consequence, and show the truly fragile line between life and death.
The film is shot entirely in black and white, and the budget is obviously of the lowest proportions. Somehow though, director Bryan Moore made this film not only watchable, but enjoyable as well. His execution is superb, and his camerawork is simple yet very effective thanks to an incredible musical score as well as good performances from his actors, especially from the ever-awesome Jack Donner. Donner was incredible as Mr. Munoz, and while he was not the title character of the film he definitely stole the show from the very moment he graced the screen. The elements of “horror” that we usually get in the most popular Lovecraft adaptations (I.e. Re-Animator) are not as heavy as you would expect for a Lovecraft film, but I merely think that due to how we have been exposed to Lovecraft. Most of these adaptations contain lots of gore, which in essence is not overly true to Lovecraft’s work, but an element thrown in to help the film attain more awesomeness, something I am not balking at, but merely explaining. In other words, don’t go into this one expecting the usual gory hijinks, but a devout adaptation that remains one of the most “correct” adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. Another such adaptation is the 2005 flick The Call of Cthulhu, which believe it or not…Cool Air director Bryan Moore worked on as a prop designer.
As far as story goes I really enjoyed this one, and Mr. Moore did a good job adapting Lovecraft’s short story to the screen. The dialogue is smooth and worthwhile, and in reference to Dr. Munoz it is absolutely fantastic in its deliverance and the substance it carries. We once again are treated to a plot involving not merely just reanimation, but reanimation that comes with a cost, and not the disastrous effects we get in zombie films, but one that brings sorrow to the table, an idea I heavily enjoyed.
There really is not much more to say regarding this flick without giving everything away, mainly because this film runs a mere 50 minutes. In the usual 90 minute horror films we get nowadays we don’t even get to the third act by the 50 minute mark, so those of you expecting the same experience should keep in mind that things will happen much quicker with this watch.
Overall, this is a great Lovecraft adaptation that despite a very low budget still manages to deliver a great watch in the end. Story reigns supreme in this one, and good direction makes the most out of what little these filmmakers had.