Frostbite (film, 2006)


From SFX 150. I’ve been to Lapland, you know. There are no vampires there, although there was a stuffed reindeer in the supermarket entrance, which is pretty weird in itself. It was released here in the UK as Frostbite, but in the US as Frostbitten. I think.

www.sfx.co.uk

English judges: THREE STARS

Swedish judges: FOUR STARS

2006/15/101 mins

Directed by: Anders Banke

Written by: Daniel Ojanlatva, Pidde Andersson

Starring: Petra Nielsen, Grete Havnesköld and Carl-Åke Eriksson

Ice cold Scandi-vampire flick with bite.

There’s a ban on writing self indulgently in the first person for SFX. Good thing, but I’m going to break it. Why? Well, there’s a reason I got this film to review – my missus is a Swede, so you get full the Eurovision judging treatment on this well-crafted horror flick.

In the far north of Sverige, there’s one month in winter when the sun never comes up; pretty handy if you’re a vampire. The film’s tagline cries out this fact, and you’d be right in thinking this is an ace idea for a vampire chiller. But the film suffers from first-story syndrome. It doesn’t matter what creative enterprise one sets out on, the first is always burdened with too many ideas. In Frostbite, we’re pitched into WWII and hurriedly informed about Hitler’s volunteer Scandinavian troops, these wind up fighting Ukrainian vampires, and then we’re whisked to modern-day Lapland. The polar express doesn’t stop until it’s taken in teen parties, new races of vampires, talking dogs (you read right) genetic tinkering, and vampire drugs. Too much for a coherent tale, and much of it delivered in an “evil genius” info-dump.

It’s a sizeable flaw, but one that is glossed over by the quality of the production. This is a first film, but the editing, direction, acting and dialogue are so good as to exceed the quality of some pictures from more experienced horror hands. Frostbite is never scary, but manages to be amusing in places (it’s more funny if you’re Swedish, if the squeals of delight my other half emitted are anything to go by). The ending, however, is a big damp squib, and in no way lives up to the promise of the Swedish-Nazi take on Dog Soldiers that forms the film’s first segment. In fact, that would have made a movie in its own right, and that’s the problem.

Did you know?

Though set in Lapland, not very many people in the film have anything approaching a proper, northern accent. But you’ll only notice if you speak Swedish.

And here's a picture of my wife Emma in 2008, with the aforementioned reindeer. I think it was a Consum shop, in Jokkmokk.

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