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Featured DVD Review: Necrosis

May 7th, 2010

Necrosis - Buy from Amazon

Necrosis, a.k.a, Blood Snow, a.k.a. Ice of the Dead is an ultra-low-budget horror film being released direct-to-DVD. I've reviewed a lot of similar films recently and the key here is keeping your expectations in check. If you go into the film expecting an award-worthy experience, you are almost always going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you go in with more modest expectations, there's always a chance you will be pleasantly surprised, right?

Back in 1846, a group of pioneers now referred to as The Donner Party set forth from Independence, Missouri to California. However, a number of difficulties slowed their progress. Instead of getting to California before winter, they were stuck in the mountains. With a record blizzard, and low on supplies, they eventually resorted to cannibalism.

Fast-forward to today and a group of six people are traveling up to the mountains for a winter vacation, the same mountains where the Donner Party suffered many great losses. You can probably see where this is going. Just after getting to their cabin, a snowstorm is beginning and the caretaker, Lyle, mentions that the generator is on the fritz. They decide to go snowmobiling anyway. At one point Samantha (Danielle De Luca) falls down and starts screaming, while Jerry starts to see things. Perhaps it's ghosts. Perhaps its his schizophrenia kicking in. But he's not imagining things when he finds Lyle dead in the snow.

Conditions continue to worsen, both in a meteorological sense and in a psychological sense. The blizzard gets worse and tensions mount.

At least I think that's what the writers were hoping for. The film moved too slowly for there to be much tension, and it's not a long movie either. There's just a dearth of activity. Halfway through the movie and there's only a couple jump scares to be found. I suppose the first 30 minutes or so is there to setup the characters, but there's not enough depth here for that to matter. One of the plot threads has Samantha pregnant with Jerry's baby, but she doesn't know what she will do and hasn't told him yet. I guess it's better than most similar horror movies in which most characters are little more than potential victims looking for sex. The only real suspenseful aspect of the film is whether Jerry is possessed or whether he is seeing things because he's off his medication. But even here the writing is rather clumsy as the big reveal is just one of the characters finding a scrap book that shows similar events have taken place over and over again on this very mountain. Not enough genuine scares to sustain itself, even with a running time that's barely more than 70 minutes long.

James Kyson-Lee is the best of the actors. He plays Jerry, arguably the best part of the movie, although one could also argue that honor should go to the early cameo by Michael Berryman. "Who?" If you don't recognize the name, you will likely recognize the face. Most of the rest of the actors do what they can with the roles they are given, but that's not a whole lot. On a side note, this is the first acting role for Tiffany since Jetsons: The Movie, where she provided the voice for Judy Jetson. She's a little rough in her performance, but her role is rather small, so that's not a big issue either.

Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track and a 30-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. Both deal with trials of low-budget film making. A lot of the behind-the-scenes footage was compiled from footage shot by the make-up artists and one of the actresses, Penny Drake, so it's a little rough at times, but worth checking out.

The Verdict

Necrosis is not a success. There are too many issues with poor writing, lack of scares, a bit of confused storytelling, etc. That said, it aims higher than most direct-to-DVD horror films do, most of which offer nothing more than the prospect of seeing boobs and blood, so I will give it credit for that. Also, the DVD does have better extras than I was expecting, so fans of the genre might want to give it a rental.

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