Thursday, April 28, 2016

Icetastrophe (2015)

Number Rolled: 58
Movie Name/Year: Icetastrophe (2015)
Tagline: Mankind is on thin ice.
Genre: Sci-fi & Fantasy
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Cinetel Films, Reel One Entertainment, Ice Cap Pictures Inc.
Producer: Tom Berry, Lisa M. Hansen, Paul Hertzberg
Director: Jonathan Winfrey
Writer: David Sanderson
Actors: Victor Webster, Jennifer Spence, Richard Harmon, Tiera Skovbye, Mike Dopud, Johannah Newmarch, Andrew Francis, Ben Cotton, Boti Bliss, Jonathon Young, Tyler Johnston, Alex Zahara, Andrew Dunbar, Lane Edwards, Jason Burkart, John Stewart, Toby Levins, Scott Crouse

Blurb from Netflix: No. This blurb lies and contains spoilers. An impressive feat to include both. We will not be supporting this blurb.

Selina’s Point of View:
There is very little I like more than being surprised by a movie.

When we rolled Icetastrophe I groaned. There wasn’t any part of me looking forward to seeing it. It looked an Asylum movie, the title wasn’t doing it any favors, and the blurb was ridiculous. The only reason it wound up on the list to begin with was because both Cat and I enjoy apocalypse-type films. Especially me. Apocalypses are my bread and butter. (Is that the right plural of apocalypse? I’m not sure. Let me know if I’m wrong!)

I was very pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

This film suffers from a terrible case of Tomorrow People (2013-2014) syndrome. It’s a decent movie marketed with a terrible title. In fact, when I found out that Icetastrophe wasn’t the name it originally aired under, I got excited. I thought maybe it just went to DVD under the terrible name. As it turns out, Icetastrophe was an upgrade from what it was originally. It aired with the title Christmas Icetastrophe. That one extra word made it so much worse.

I’m reminded of that scene in Robin Hood Men in Tights (1993) where the prince asks the witch how she got her name, “Latrine.” She answers that she changed it from “Shit-house.” He responds that it was a “good change. Very good change.”

But I digress.

The movie was pretty good, actually. The concept was a little off and it was definitely a B-movie in reference to the graphics, but there was something very interesting about it.

The script was decent, but that wasn’t the best part. There was some amazing acting involved. There’s one scene where Tiera Skovbye (Even Lambs Have Teeth, Sugarbabies, A Christmas Tail) has to play her character as being terrified. In a lot of B-movies, those horror screams are laughable. Skovbye’s performance was not. I 100% believed her. She wasn’t the only one to deliver a fantastic performance either. Richard Harmon (Continuum, The 100, The Age of Adaline) and Victor Webster (Continuum, The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power, Mutant X) were also great.

I know Webster from his past work as Coop on Charmed, but he’s the only actor I’ve seen much of. As a result, I don’t know if the acting was phenomenal due to the talent of the actors or the talent of Jonathan Winfrey (Even Stevens, Watch Over Me, Saints & Sinners) as a director. I’d easily believe either, or both, of those theories.

This film is a great example of how simple things can elevate a B-movie into something that you not only want to watch, but wind up enjoying.

If only the name wasn’t such complete crap.

Cat’s Point of View:
I feel compelled to open my review of this movie with a caution to completely ignore the blurb on Netflix. Not only does it give away massive spoilers, it has patently false information in it as well. There also seems to be a bit of a discrepancy in the movie’s title. IMDb, as well as most other sources have the movie titled Christmas Icetastrophe, as it was billed when it aired on the SYFY Network as their version of a Christmas Special in 2014.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, on to the movie!

This was pretty much your typical SYFY disaster movie. There were things that defied physics, plain ridiculousness, and a mixed bag of effects between cool and ‘are you kidding me?!’ in quality. The VFX team seemed to take a few notes from The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – but maybe not enough.

I didn’t love it; but I didn’t hate it, either. I was surprised to find that the film was reasonably enjoyable. Though, it’s definitely not one that I’d choose to watch again. There was a lot of conscious decision on my part to overlook things, and that took away from my ability to invest in the story.

The saving grace of this movie was Victor Webster (The Magic Stocking, Burning Palms, Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators). The movie overall just wasn’t up to his caliber. If he weren’t involved in this project, I think I would have done a whole lot of rolling my eyes and checking the countdown to see if it was over yet.

For your bit of trivia, it’s worth noting that he joins quite a few of his cast mates from the SYFY Channel show, Continuum (2012-2015), in this movie. It’s fun to think that the cast might have just decided to do this additional group project for kicks during a hiatus in filming of their regular gig. 

I digress.

There was an interesting angle to this film that was a bit on the subtle side. It seems that, in the spirit of Christmas stories, the movie paid homage to the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Webster’s character was Charlie Ratchet. That’s easily C. Ratchet, in ode to Bob Cratchit. The character’s son, played by Richard Harmon (Judas Kiss, Grave Encounters 2, The Wishing Tree), was even named Tim.

There was also a Marley, played by Tiera Skovbye (Painkiller Jane, Forever 16, Feint). Though as a twist, she was the daughter of Mr. Crooge; brought to life by Mike Dopud (Snow Buddies, This Means War, Assault on Wall Street). Exploring how she fits the classic tale’s theme would reveal a spoiler – but it’s in there!

There’s no Ebenezer in this movie, but the Crooge family isn’t exactly liked by everyone and does seem to have some decent parallel. Though, the most curmudgeonly of them all had to be the son, Scott Crooge. If you take Andrew Francis’ (Tin Man, Primary, Max Steel) bellicose character down to initials, you have S. Crooge.

I thought that was neat.

It’s that sort of concept layering that elevates mediocre movies like this one into something a little more special. I’d say it’s worth a watch at least once – if only to pick out the Carol theme.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 33%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

The Random Rating: PG-13

P.S. Is on Netflix as Icetastrophe but the original title was Christmas Icetastrophe.

Movie Trailer: 

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