Genius Products presents
“Can you please stop throwing garden gnomes at me?”- Vega (Emma Aberg)
Stars: Petra Nielsen, Grete Havanskold
Other Stars: Carl-ake Eriksson, Jonas Karlström, Emma Aberg
Director: Anders Banke
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic violence, gore)
Run Time: 01h:41m:46s
Release Date: 2007-09-25
DVD ReviewWith the hot summer months heating up most of the planet, what better way to cool off than with a bloody, Swedish horror film set in the dead of winter? I can’t think of a better cure for the summertime blues, as director Anders Banke’s 2005 film, Frostbitten, is a cold breath of fresh air among a litter of mediocre horror films, both from Hollywood and abroad. While it never got a theatrical chance stateside, Genius Products gives us a chance to discover this nice, under-the-radar film on a very impressive new DVD.
Mother and daughter, Annika (Petra Nielsen) and Saga (Grete Havanskold) are on the move to a snowy burg in Sweden. Their uprooting is the result of a new job Annika has accepted at a hospital as a researcher. She’s to work for a team led by Dr. Beckert (Carl-ake Eriksson), a rather shady man, who seems to really enjoy that they’re performing their studies in an area that remains in total darkness for 30 straight days every year. When one of the hospital’s orderlies, Sebastian (Jonas Karlström), steals some red pills from Dr. Beckert’s office and takes them to a party for his friend, Vega (Emma Aberg),, all hell breaks loose. Soon, most of the partygoers have sampled the drugs, and are acting strangely, hungering for unconventional things, including nearby animals.
Frostbitten is a fun little vampire flick that , pardon the pun, screams to be discovered. It’s a high-energy flick that should grab the attention of even those that are most discriminatory towards foreign flicks that they “have to read.” This is one of those cases where you just want to take a handful of subtitle-haters and force them to sit through something that isn’t spoken in English. They get all of the goods they’re used to from Hollywood pictures, and then some, with the fast-pace never letting up. Once the first red pill is consumed, the movie takes off, and anyone that’s lasted that long into the picture is going to want to keep their eyes glued to the screen to see who survives this bloodbath.
The film’s main strong point is its near perfect blend of raw, witty humor, and dark, gory accounts of the macabre. After a rather serious opening sequence showing a gruesome occurrence during the World War II time period, we’re introduced to the younger characters and the modern-day story begins. We then see perfectly placed sequences that tow the line between shocking horror and parody, with seriousness being properly employed when it’s called for. The visuals keep things speeding along, as something as seemingly simplistic as a drop of blood hitting a patch of white snow coming across as both beautiful and harrowing.
The actors are top-notch as well, and, despite most of their youth, they pull off their characters like the most consummate professionals. Eriksson is effectively creepy as the diabolical Dr. Beckert, and manages to avoid going over the top during some scenes where he easily could have. Nielsen and Havanskold are also good as the central characters that we’re supposed to be sympathetic towards, but it’s Karlström as Sebastian that steals almost every scene he’s in. Whether he’s livening up the party, in more ways than one, or chewing on his next vampiric meal, Karlström makes Sebastian a character we’ll never forget in a film that will hopefully make some waves among horror fans, young and old.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and it does an excellent job handling the stunning, unique look of the film. This is a very dark film, but the lack of light works in the picture’s favor, as wonderfully-rendered colors bring the white of the snow and blood red drippings to glorious life. These colors are used in extremely sharp, detailed images that exhibit nothing in the form of print flaws or other blemishes.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio isn’t as amazing as the video, but it’s extremely active and lively, creating a perfectly terrifying mood. Things aren’t super bass-heavy, but the surrounds spring to life just enough to make us feel as if we were surrounded by evil. The dialogue is always crisp and crystal clear, blending in perfectly with the rest of the mix.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Habit, In Search of Dracula, Victor Frankenstein
2 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Keep Case
There’s also a pair of deleted scenes, totaling two-and-a-half minutes, three blooper clips, at just over three minutes, and the original theatrical trailer for Frostbitten.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsA hidden gem of a horror-comedy, 2005’s Swedish film, Frostbitten is one of the better genre efforts in recent years. Some nice acting and well-timed humor works nicely with the gore and mayhem, making this consistently entertaining. Genius’ disc is also a nice surprise, thanks to excellent audio and video presentations and a great making-of documentary.
Chuck Aliaga 2008-07-11