In the post-apocalyptic near-future, the world is held in the icy grip of a nuclear winter. The residents of a massive network of concrete bunkers struggle to survive against starvation and radioactive mutants. When a search party is lost on a routine "supply run", the colony finds a nearly-dead man lying in the snow. The new addition to the colony's population happens to be a shifty-eyed Russian refugee named Evanushka. Written by
A fully-fledged post-apocalypse epic from the Alaskan-based Scythe Productions, THE FROZEN INFERNO is a riot for fans of cheesy exploitation and action cinema. That's because director Mike Martinez fills his movies with references to Italian cinema of the late '70s/early '80s, here by using stock footage of miniatures and explosions from Antonio Margheriti productions such as THE LAST HUNTER and music "borrowed" from the De Angelis brothers. However, THE FROZEN INFERNO is by no means a rip-off, as it contains enough originality to be fresh and exciting. What the film lacks in running time (it ends with a "To be continued" at twenty-four minutes in, much to my chagrin) it makes up for in excellent direction, tight editing, and excellent choreography in the action sequences. Martinez is adept with his camera, staging a shoot-out in the woods with a few buddies and turning it into a massive battle sequence!
The film opens on a very impressive note, with stock footage of nuclear explosions all edited together very nicely, so much so that you barely realise you're watching an ultra-low budget movie. The film begins in typical post-apocalypse mode with a group of gun-toting survivors being attacked by some gory mutant with glowing red eyes (love those cheesy effects). The major difference here is that instead of an arid desert setting, it's a wintery, snow-bound Alaska, but to no less effect. The various fights, shoot-outs, and battles (which even incorporate a tank, impressively enough) within the next twenty minutes are delightful to watch and pretty exciting. Also good are the scene-setting shots of deserted buildings and eerie streets which are edited in nicely with the music and storyline, making for a good atmosphere, something often missing even in the films this emulates.
The acting is probably the film's weakest element, but even then it's above average for (for want of a better word) an "amateur" production. Some performances are tongue-in-cheek and others over the top, but nobody would watch this expecting Oscar-level standards. Far from it. THE FROZEN INFERNO is a pacy, exciting thrill-ride of a short that finishes just as it gets going, much to the viewer's disappointment, and it's a film which leaves you wanting more of the same. Commendations all round for the effort and skill put into making this.
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