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The premise: A prehistoric bug is discovered in melting Arctic ice by a
renowned global warming alarmist (Val Kilmer). The bug reproduces by
infecting people. A small group of students attempt to contain the new
The Thaw offers more suspense than it does horror, though there are some jumpy and/or gory moments. The CGI bugs are just convincing enough, and the other effects are good. While the plot revolves largely around Kilmer's character, he doesn't get very much screen time. However the other actors were engaging enough that I didn't find myself missing him all that much.
The story starts with Kilmer and his team, beginning the movie's more mysterious element. It then switches to the students for their rather straightforward horror-genre struggle against the bugs. The Kilmer part of the story is revisited in the end, to wrap up the mystery with a twist. Having the mystery lingering in the background was a nice touch, as it added some extra intrigue to carry me through the movie.
Nothing to write home about, but competent film-making and moderate entertainment throughout. Has lots of blatant public-service messages about global warming, too, if you've got the stomach for that.
Even though the movie as a whole isn't really awesomely smashing in any
way, the first thing that really struck me is how well done and thought
out it all is.
It features realistic portrayals of human behavior all the way through. From phobias, realistic explanations of how they came to the conclusions they did, to a person using a multimeter and electrical tape to actually fix something. Like a real person might. And they all have their agendas. Also gunshots don't sound like tanks, and they don't make 10" holes in people. There are no huge aliens, there's no gratuitous nudity and it doesn't take one chop with a cleaver to cut someones arm off. Another thing that surprised me is that bodies don't vanish, the same with tracks and bruises etc.
In most movies (*ahem* multi-million dollar productions) stuff like this, commonly called realism, is just glazed over. Your focus is shifted to the CGI and the huge explosions the MTV generation seems to love, like some magician distracting your attention so he can get away with tricking you (out of a good plot).
Anyone who likes realism and thrillers/horror will probably have a jolly fine time watching this one. There's a bit of bad acting on the part of a few characters (though all the main ones are excellent), and as I stated the movie isn't miraculously good in any way. It's still better than most, and it has some really redeeming qualities to it.
After reading some of the comments on this movie, I was more than pleasantly surprised at how good this smart little bug feature was A definite step up from the usual B movie sci-fi horror crap that's been out in the cinemas this year. There were decent squirm effects and gore and a nice touch of tongue in cheek humour too. The cinematography was cool and eerie and the brooding atmosphere had echoes of The Thing and Near Dark (although it's nothing like The Thing) I thought the acting and direction were assured. I Liked the twist at the end too. Don't listen to some of the other reviewers on this forum as I doubt that they have actually seen the film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow. The feedback on this film reminds me of just how much horror fans
really do love to bitch. If you liked the The Thing, Slither or
ecological horror films in general, you're going to like this one. It
really is as simple as that.
I really don't get all the hate on Kilmer for taking this particular role. Yeah, it's not Tombstone, but did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps he liked the script or the subject matter. He did an excellent job here as per usual and his name no doubt help to elevate the film.
Really cool script. Solid casting and good performances all around. Standout CGI and cinematography with a really cool twist at the end. What's not to like here? I really enjoyed this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The famous and infamous ecologist Dr. David Krupien (Val Kilmer) is
leading a research in the Arctic with his assistants Jane (Anne Marie
Deluise) and Edward (John Callander) about the impact of the global
warming in polar bears. Dr. Krupien's daughter Evelyn (Martha Macisaac)
and the students Federico Fulce (Kyle Schmid), Ling Chen (Steph Song)
and Atom Galen (Aaron Ashmore) are invited to join the expedition.
However, Dr. Krupien and his team discover a deadly prehistoric
parasite in a mammoth and Dr. Krupien asks the helicopter pilot Bart
(Viv Leacock) to call off the travel of Evelyn and leave her in Dawson
City, Yukon. However, the rebel Evelyn forces Bart to take her to the
base station. Sooner the group finds Jane that is terminal and
contaminated by the parasite, and they also discover that she had
sabotaged the helicopter and shot Dr. Krupien and Edward. When they
find that the bugs in the base are lethal, Evelyn and Atom decides to
stay in quarantine to contain the contamination and call the CDC.
However, Fed releases a distress signal, calls a helicopter and
destroys the radio.
"The Thaw" is a film with elements of "The Thing" and "Whiteout" combined with ecological terrorism about the effects of the global warming. The problem is that the characters are unpleasant and do not create empathy with the viewer. The ultimate decision of the fanatic Dr. David Krupien is stupid; Federico is selfish; Evelyn is a rebel without a cause or leadership; Ling is not well developed; therefore, only Bart and Atom are nice. The conclusion is silly. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Contaminação" ("Contamination")
Somewhere near the arctic circle scientists happen upon a mammoth,
frozen in the ice. As it turns out the age-old creature itself maybe
dead, but inside the mammoth there's something very alive...
"The Thaw" is following in the footsteps of "The Thing" (isolation scenario) and "Slither" (disgusting bugs). Clearly showing its low budget the movie still manages to get all its effects good enough to be convincing and its mostly unknown acting-ensemble pulls off their respective characters nicely. Val Kilmer does an OK job - something to be considered a pleasant surprise these days. If you are a fan of his, know that Kilmer gets only little screen time.
To me "The Thaw" really delivered. Just like "Splinter" it's one of those small productions that make you shiver and cringe by what you see on screen as much as by making you imagine how it would be to be confronted with the horrors they show you. Instead of "Highlight-Reel-Slashing" and a scare now and then you get constant terror till the end and a depressingly desperate and hopeless scenario.
Was everything great about "The Thaw"? No. But all it's shortcomings never hinder the emotional impact of the movie which is what I think movies are all about. I think the prominent (pushy) Global Warming theme of the movie has put some viewers off so much that they don't give this little gem enough credit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Infestation horror, with a global warming message, regarding
prehistoric parasites which are unleashed after a woolly mammoth is
unearthed by melted ice on a Canadian Arctic island infecting a
research team(..led by Val Kilmer as a famous ecologist known for his
vocal outcry towards mankind's awareness and acknowledgment of our
treatment of Mother Earth). The lives of students who accept an
invitation from Dr. David Kruipen(Kilmer)and their helicopter pilot
will become endangered once they land at the research center. Also,
along for the trip is Kruipen's estranged daughter Evelyn(Martha
MacIsaac). The students include Atom Galen(Aaron Ashmore), whose father
is an oil man as ironic as it may seem, Federico(Kyle Schmid), with a
phobia towards bugs of any kind, and Ling Chen(Steph Song). When the
kids find a dead polar bear and the research cabin empty, they will
soon discover to their horror parasitical "vertebrae" which enter the
skin and lay eggs, multiplying at an alarming rate. Pilot Bart(Viv
Leacock)is bit while posing over the dead polar bear for a picture and
Ling is infected while having sex with Feddy(Federico's pet name)on the
floor. When Kruipen's assistant Dr. Jane Sanders(Anne Marie
DeLuise)returns from their camp worse for wear, the group will see
firsthand what the parasites do to human hosts, as victims vomit as
their insides become overrun by hatching eggs, with skin irritations
soon evolving into open sores..it isn't too long before those infected
are devoured carcasses spilling forth hundreds upon hundreds of
parasites. Can those uninfected escape before the parasites get to them
and was there an ulterior motive by Kruipen, frustrated by the
unwillingness of an uncaring world towards helping their environment
better itself after mankind's treatment over many years of pollution
and other factors?
Not bad for it's type, "The Thaw" is pretty much still a terror tale whose threat are hatched bugs which could become a global nightmare if released from their isolated quarantine.
The cast is actually pretty solid, although Val Kilmer's part is relatively small. Instead Ashmore(Smallville)and MacIsaac's young characters are the center voices of reason/calm as Schmid's Federico loses control when it's confirmed that he is infected in his penis, and Song's Ling is steadily becoming more diseased..interesting choice, deciding instead to focus the developing story around young people, witnessing how they respond to a crisis of such magnitude. I will just say this, if you are terrified of the mere sight of creepy crawlies scurrying about, and into open wounds on the skin, make sure not to pop this bad boy in the DVD player.
"The Thaw" also features the unpleasant sight of how the flesh responds negatively to infection, including a decision to chop off an arm that doesn't end well for the recipient(..we see that it isn't so easy to lop off an arm with one swipe of a cleaver). "The Thaw", I believe, will accomplish it's goal to make your skin crawl..if that is what you so desire, check this flick out. Released by GhostHouse Underground.
A Ghosthouse Underground film with Aaron Ashmore from Smallville and Val Kilmer from Batman Forever. Batman, Jimmy Olsen and friends take on a prehistoric parasite that distroys every living thing in its path. A parasite that bites people and lays eggs under their skin. The parasite was frozen underground until now. N...ow it is unleashed and it will devour anything in its path including a pollar bear. With the threat of global warming is it possible for something like that to be unleashed. This film is a great companion peace to Cabin Fever with all of the infections, the big differerce is that people are infected by reanimated bugs not tainted toxic water. Both films are made to make statements about the polluted world around us. This film was amazing with all of the visual effects and make up. People cutting off limbs and getting strange infections after bugs have planted their eggs under their skin. A film full of scum bags and backstabbers fighting for their lives. A absolute guilty pleasure
This is an enjoyable little horror movie and more a kin to the movies I
watched growing up (horror with a lowercase h by todays standards) The
film has a nice long run up to the action which gives you a chance to
get to know the characters (which are fairly bland but that doesn't
matter) A lot of the horror is creepy crawly based which is more
disturbing that scary.
The characters act out in fairly realistic ways (no one pops up to the attic on their own to investigate that damn scratching noise) and there is a real sense of peril.
Don't expect big affects, gore, nudity, over the top action or paralysing fear. Do expect to see an intelligent movie based on a not so intelligent premises, well executed in good time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many people have commented on the political commentary and the awful
acting by some of the characters, but if you can ignore all of that
(which I am fairly good at doing) this movie still doesn't hold up.
First, most characters in the movie exhibit wildly varying symptoms after being infected. One guy you can't even tell is infected, another has one sore he keeps covered, one girl looks ready to keel over any minute before she does, and another girl is covered in sores. No wonder none of them were smart enough to figure any of it out.
The rest of the movie is just full of dumb moments.
Val Kilmer's character is shot in the chest at point blank range with a rifle, survives in the tundra for 24 hours and crawls a long distance back to the main facility. Meanwhile his daughter drives an ATV out to where he was shot and back between when he was shot and when he shows up later without even seeing him!
Speaking of that, she sees a dead body buried out by where he was shot, half un-buries it and then just assumes its her dad. So she turns around and goes back to the main facility.
The graves they dug for the victims at the beginning of the movie are about 8 inches deep.
A girl clearly deathly ill and about to die is spitting up dark green/black muck and another girl bends down to give her mouth to mouth.
The get ready and set everything up to amputate a guy's arm, but when it won't stop bleeding after they cut it off they run outside to get a first aid kit. Why wouldn't they have it already?
They finally figure out the muck filled woman was infected with a parasite and instead of sealing off that room, decide to wrap her up and drag her across the facility to a lab and seal her off there.
A video camera that has no tape upon first inspection later has a plot- crucial video that the main characters have to retrieve from the quarantine room.
And there are probably more I am forgetting.
The movie had some potential. The acting was bearable for the most part and the political commentary is easy to ignore. However, when a movie is full of dumb moments like these it turns into something you laugh at with friends rather than think about or event enjoy for the reasons the filmmaker intended.
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