Evan, an overworked software engineer, has recently reconciled with his dying mother who, unbeknownst to him, fell under the spell of a murderous demon when Evan was young. Raised in foster care, Evan has emerged as a lonely, drug-addicted adult, whose only solace lies in his flute music. When he and his boss, Bob, cut corners on the software testing of a new military flight control system, the consequences are devastating, and summon the return of the old demon, who offers Evan a devilish deal to save himself -- and the girl he loves. Written by
A very good "bad" movie that could have been even better
This in no way is a GREAT movie. However, it is a VERY good bad movie -- on a scale of one to five stars, I'd call it a one-star premise executed with four stars for humor, pacing, quality, and acting.
There is NO way that you could make a serious horror movie about a meth-smoking flute-playing corner-cutting defense department contractor being manipulated by demons to kill a rival succubus gang leader. Fortunately, director/writer Ralph Hyver clearly had no intention of making a serious one. Instead, Red Ice is hilariously funny -- mostly intentionally. Hyver takes his ludicrous premise and builds upon it, each plot twist funnier than the last, until the movie on some odd level actually works.
For a very silly horror movie, the acting in Red Ice is surprisingly good, even at points when the dialogue and plot are laughably bad. All of the actors bring their roles to life -- or unlife, as the case may be. That said, the absolute two best actors in the movie are Haining as the demonic Mr. Wu and Jack Brand, as Williams' partner Bob. They pretty much steal every scene they are in once the movie gets going. I also have to give a particular nod to Bjorne Geske as the demonic drug seller and user Belzebub.
The movie's production values are pretty high, too. Lighting is consistent and competent; wardrobe is well thought out; and the special effects, again, are surprisingly well done.
This movie is best seen with a bottle of booze and a room full of friends. You will spend the movie laughing -- sometimes WITH the movie, and sometimes AT the movie. But you'll have a good time.
Would I see this again? Yes. I might even buy a copy.
Would I deliberately inflict it upon my friends? Absolutely.
SPOILERS AHEAD The two things most lacking in this movie were a solid beginning and a really solid end. Most egregiously, the film begins not with scenes setting up the premise, but with the short cut of a few paragraphs of text sprawl outlining the rival drug lords set-up for the movie. Why is this egregious? One or two extra scenes of shooting could have accomplished all this in a much, much, much more satisfying way.
Instead, the audience has little or no connection to the Succubus, no reason to care when she comes on film again, and -- worst of all -- an instant alienation from the film when the text crawl appears on screen. This isn't Star Wars: A New Hope here, it's a movie about demon drug lord rivals. Don't give us text, give us a few scenes showing them, you know, actually drug running... showing the succubus being a problem... making the viewers CARE just a little about the succubus. I can only presume the film's budget ran out so those scenes couldn't be shot, as it's the easiest explanation why we enter the movie mid-plot. But it's truly a shame, as it would have bumped the movie up at least one star had we gotten footage rather than text.
On the flip side of the movie, the film runs on too long, through a fight scene with a character (the pilot from the plane that crashes at the beginning of the movie) that you don't really care about and have little interest in. After the flute player escapes the demons by playing his anti-demon melody (yes, really), the demon Wu goes to the pilot, who has spent the entire movie in the hospital burn ward, and injects him with the red ice to get him to go kill the flute player.
And there's where the movie should have ended -- back where it begins, with Mr. Wu injecting a human and saying "The red ice will help you understand." Bam, great finish. We the audience know what's going to happen next. We can imagine the complications that will ensure as Mr. Wu keeps compounding his problem. We can imagine the aftermath in our minds -- and it's funnier when we do. The inevitable fight scene and "surprise" (not really) ending that we DO get past this point just doesn't add enough to the film. Hyver would have had a perfect punchy, funny ending had he stopped at this point, the kind that John Carpenter and Sam Raimi have executed skillfully, and it's a shame that he didn't go for it it.
Incredibly minor quibbles: The movie cover.
First, the tagline. Those ellipses have to go, as do the quotation marks. It doesn't matter that it's a quote from the movie, or that the actor paused when speaking it. That extra punctuation makes it less effective, not more. Just make it: THE RED ICE WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND. Font it a little bit bigger, a little bit bolder. Bam, it'll be a lot more effective and interesting.
Second, the picture. Jack Brand makes a number of awesome faces in that scene; the puppy dog look he's giving in the poster really isn't a great choice for the face of this movie. It confuses the viewer with its look of pathos -- is the red ice supposed to help you understand his sadness? Answer: No. No it is not. So pick a still that is a little wickeder, a little meaner, a little funnier or a little crazier. Just not one giving sad puppy-dog eyes -- the one emotion this film doesn't evoke.
The cover/poster is your first chance to make viewers want to pick up your movie. So make them want to.
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