In honor of mighty Nature taking out much of my technology recently, I have declared this Nature Gone Wild! week. The Last Winter is currently available on instant Netflix.
WATCH: The Last Winter (2007) – NR – Not rated but contains adult content, brief nudity, violence.
“When strange things start happening at an Arctic oil-drilling outpost, workers fear their cabin is haunted by ancient spirits, and the unexplained events spark a feud between an oil company representative (Ron Perlman) and an eco-activist (James LeGros). Larry Fessenden’s supernatural thriller adds a terrifying new layer to global warming and the perils of oil production. Connie Britton, Kevin Corrigan, Zach Gilford and Jamie Harrold co-star.”
“We shouldn’t be here. We’re graverobbers.”
Larry Fessenden is apparently a jack of all trades. He directed, produced, wrote and edited this movie. Clearly this was a very personal project for him.
There are some neat directorial flourishes in this movie. In one scene Ed Pollack (Ron Perlman) is talking on the phone. The camera cuts away to outdoor scenes while the conversation continues. There is a nice pan out as a crow takes off. The camera jumps out a bit as Maxwell takes a meal showing his unstable frame of mind.
As might be guessed by my comments above, much of the horror in the movie is suggested. This actually appears to be a real throwback to Val Lewton’s style of filmmaking (though without the marvelous use of shadow). Fessenden also makes good use of a lot of stock eco-footage (look you can make anything into a new word by adding eco- in front of it).
The stock footage while used well is also overused. The movie beats you over the head with its eco-message (see there I go again). This movie does seem to be the corporate equivalent of the couple from yesterday’s Nature’s Gave.
The cast is well chosen. As with John Carpenter’s The Thing, none of the ensemble cast look like movie stars. Unlike that film there are women in the cast. No one looks glamorous and everyone looks like they could actually be working out at the station.
Ron Perlman headlines the cast. He does a wonderful job with what, in another director’s hands, would be a villainous role (the face of the evil nature-destroying corporation). Thankfully Perlman and Fessenden stay away from the stereotype and his character comes off as just a mid-level boss trying to get the work done.
The marvelous part of the film is the eerie atmosphere that continually builds as their situation deteriorates. The building confines seem claustrophobic after all the open tundra shots.
I highly recommend this picture for the feelings it evokes. Do not go into it expecting action, gore, and special effects (there are some of each of those but they are just payoff).
People Watch: In addition to all his other tasks, Larry Fessenden also appears briefly in the movie as Charles Foster.