Jack Frost (1997) – Michael Cooney

JP

For some reason, Christmas and horror just go well together. This makes sense if your family is anything like mine. By the time you’re on your third egg nog, you want to stab somebody. But there have been tons of great Christmas horror flicks (Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, Gremlins, Nightmare Before Christmas) and Michael Cooney’s Jack Frost is not one of them. Well, that’s a little unfair because it’s not intended to be good. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek so you’re laughing the whole time instead of being scared. Since it wasn’t meant to be scary, it’s not going to get a great review here but don’t get me wrong: the movie is fun and worth a watch, maybe with some beers and a couple of friends to help make fun of it.

In general, I’m sort of ambivalent about horror comedies. When they’re good, they’re really good, but lots of times they’re not that funny. Lots of filmmakers lean on the “shitty B-movie” crutch a bit too much and don’t bother trying to make the movie good. Zombieland is a great example of a comedic horror movie parody that doesn’t suck. Anyway, Jack Frost is bad, don’t get me wrong, but it has a certain charm that’s hard to pinpoint. I think that it’s so self aware of its shittyness that it uses the shittyness to its advantage. If you know your cast can’t act, make them say goofy catch phrases to distract us. If you know your killer is a snowman, make the secretary at the police station blow-dry her hair at her desk so there’s a weapon for you to use (everybody knows guns are useless against killer snowmen). It’s little things like that that make this movie not only tolerable but actually entertaining. Also you get to see Shannon Elizabeth’s butt so that helps too.

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The movie is about a convicted serial killer sentence to death who gets exposed to some experimental genetic material and turns into a snowman who’s bent on revenge against the small-town sheriff who caught him. The snowman can melt and refreeze himself at will so he can get into your house unnoticed without much effort. He’s really out for vengeance against the sheriff and his family, but how can you resist slicing up a few small-town bumpkins along the way. So the town is in a panic and the sheriff and his friends have to find a way to defeat this seemingly indestructible frozen killing machine before it carves up the whole town like a Christmas ham. There are some sort of weird and awkward plot elements that bluntly show back up at the end and help the crew out.

Like I said, it’s not really meant to be taken seriously but it treads the line between genuine and parody pretty well. It’s even a little bit clever at times. Jack, the killer snowman has a couple of great one-liners as he dispatches the townspeople. He even decides to forgo the business end of an axe at one point and shoves the handle through a guy’s head. You’ve got to give it to him on this one. The head of the axe is a little played out in B-slasher flicks.

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Just to reiterate, I don’t think the score of this one will really tell the whole tale. It’s not going to rank very high, but Jack Frost is till something of a gem in its own right.

  1. Is it scary: 3- There are some suspenseful moments, but that’s not really what this film was about.
  2. Originality: 7- Though it’s not really earth shattering, I don’t think I’ve really seen many killer snowmen out there. Credit where credit is due.
  3. Blood: 5- They could have made this one a little bloodier. Actually fairly tame for a slasher.
  4. Believability: 3- It’s about a genetically mutated killer snowman.
  5. Setting/Cinematography: 4- The setting served it’s purpose. It was what you’d expect. Nothing amazing.

Overall Score: 22/50 

J2

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