Friday, June 5, 2015

The Chill Factor - 1993

Also known as "Demon Possessed" on IMDb.

Some movies are just made, not for any particular reason that is obvious to us, not to win awards or to be groundbreaking- they are just made.  Is that the case here with The Chill Factor, a semi-bland but also kind of well done 90's horror thriller filmed in Wisconsin?  Did the director, the stars, the writers, did they think this movie was going to be the next horror smash hit?  I honestly wonder that a lot when I watch movies like this.  Low budget, yet still somewhat original movies like this make you wonder about the hopes and dreams of another person, about what drives us to create, about how man can pursue their vision, etc.  Or maybe it just makes me wonder that.  Entirely possible.

The Chill Factor is one of those movies where in order to change things up a bit, in order to differentiate itself, it changed the setting and the set up of a normal horror film.  First of all, it's narrated by an elderly woman, who identifies herself as a survivor of the ordeal we are watching, and pops in on occasion to give us a necessary detail or two.  It's an interesting idea, first of all because as I remember it didn't say exactly, "Hi I'm Jane, that's me" or whatever so we don't know which girl it is or anything, and secondly because then we know there will be a survivor, and likely only one.

Adding to the narration is the setting.  Filmed in Wisconsin, this film takes place in the middle of nowhere in the snow.  In fact the cover (which was why I saw the film) is a snowmobile.
Now I'm not saying it's incredibly original to have a poster like this, but it is a sell point for an audience.  To say "yes, my horror movie will have snowmobiles" is kind of different.  Plus, for me, I love the 90's feel of the poster (kind of an 80's feel to it left over too).  The setting sun, the snowy wasteland, the dark purple colors....the font!  The font is fucking great.  It's mysterious, it's bizarre, it's attention grabbing.

What The Chill Factor is, is a film about a group of young friends that go out into the middle of nowhere to have a snowmobile race.  One of them crashes and gets hurt, and they find a cabin out somewhere to take their injured friend to.  It's too far to move their friend all the way back to town, so most of the group stays there at the cabin with the injured guy while one the group leader goes back to town to get help.  What these feisty teens don't know is that there is a Ouija board there, and that once they bust it out, ("it'll kill some time" they say as the explanation) it raises a demon that takes over their injured friend Tom.  Tom is, by the way, the only character whose name I remember.  I guess the group leader dude was Chris?  Or maybe it was Ron.  I really don't remember, or care.

Tom goes all evil and kills group members one by one with his evil demon powers.  He kind of just "causes things to happen", we'll see moving objects or circumstances that seem outlandish and then we'll cut to Tom in his demon makeup making evil expressions and so it's more of insinuated kills.  But the kills themselves are pretty nice.  They're clever, and even though some of them seem awkwardly set up, they're still fun to watch and original.  Originality is everything when you've got a low budget, and so this movie gets points. Chris, the group leader who left to get help, gets killed indirectly by Tom, and so now it's Tom preying on his group of friends

This movie at first made me want to give it relatively low marks for the general pacing, which is slow, and for the bad acting.  It's pretty amateur in feel, and obviously it didn't take much longer than a few days at most to film it.  But you can't really blame them, because I'm sure it was all the director's or writer's money.  I personally hope they made it back off a film like this, because these films need to be made.  Not like, this one especially, but damn, where would we be without independently made, low budget films?  Some of those films have been my favorite.  I know if I made a movie, I'd be damn proud if it came out half as good as this one.

I feel great about it, I'm giving it 3 stars.

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