Category: H.P. Lovecraft

Chill (2007)

“Horror goes retro?” What the fuck does that even mean?

The Lovecraftian horror film isn’t a genre that is very highly regarded, mostly because it’s one that’s filled up with a few winners and a lot of really awful crap. The man’s purple prose and monsters that can drive a man insane with a single glance, as well as his fantastic racism, make his work notably hard to adapt to the screen.  Basically the rule is: “If it’s not Stuart Gordon, it’s not going to be very good.” Therefore, I didn’t have very high expectations for this one, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. At least partially, anyways…

Chill is a movie that’s really much better than it has any right to be. An uncredited (at least on my DVD case) adaption of HP Lovecraft’s Cool Air, the film revolves around a drifter and former doctor that finds his way into an armpit of a town, full of pimps, hookers, and asshole cops. The grocery store where he applies to work is run by a dude in a cape that goes out at night with his stitched together assistant to pick up girls so he can steal their skin. Awesome! There’s also this girl that turns out to be sweet on him, and conveniently works in a shop next door. She also has a creepy stalker that also happens to be a cop, played by freaking James Russo, of all people! It’s interesting that a film like this would dare to have two villains in the same story and Russo is actually much much creepier than the cheesy main bad guy, but it turns out the cop is just there to be more slasher meat anyways. Boo.
And this is the real problem with this film. The first half is actually pretty creepy and well done, almost a mystery horror story, and it’s all set up pretty well. It’s low budget actually works for the film rather than against it, for once, creating a nice tense atmosphere and making it grittier than it would normally be. And then it all goes out the window and we’re subject to the same problems that a lot of no budget films tend to have. The pace gets rushed so we can have a bunch of action climaxes, the most interesting character gets offed, and the ending is really stupid and goes on for way too long. There’s also the matter of some really god awful CGI, which probably wasn’t the director’s fault, but my god, he couldn’t have thought any of it was acceptable. A note to future directors: CGI flames and explosions look really fucking terrible!  Just set a model on fire or something! It worked for over 100 years!

So in the end what we have is a film that really really really wants to be good but just can’t quite get there. Honestly, I think maybe the script needed a bunch of re-writes. I still think it’s a fun watch, what with all the gore and nudity and weird freaking story, but it could have been so much better. And that’s always frustrating.

Rating: C+

Random Things

  • Pfft, “Horror goes retro.” Pfft, I say. Pfft.
  • Hey, guess what? Timmy Wiseau is in the credits for providing camera equipment! I’m not quite sure if it’s that Tommy Wiseau since it’s not listed on his IMDB page, but how many damn Tommy Wiseau’s work on low budget films in Hollywood? There’s also someone listed as “Erik Porn.” Snicker. I’m such a 12 year old…
  • Man, I’ve seen this thing sitting in just about every place you’d normally find dollar DVDs in this area. It must be more than just me buying them. Right? Sometimes all you have to live on is hope…