Holy shit, it’s cold! M.L. Miller aka the @$$hole formerly known as Ambush Bug here. Let’s continue the countdown fun with the Best Snow-Covered horror films for the chilly month of January. To be fair, I’m going to forgo repeating myself with Holiday horror films since we covered that last month.
The frigid air, the crunch of snow underfoot, and the contrast between red blood and pure white snow makes Snow-covered horror films one of my favorite sub-subgenre’s of horror. I’m going to count down the films that made me feel the chilliest while watching. As far as how I compiled this list? Well, there’s no real method to my special brand of madness. I’ll be counting down every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through December to my favorite snow-covered horror film of the year. I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed, overlooked, or simply haven’t seen yet, but that’s what the comments section below is all about.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own damn list…let’s go!
#10 – DEVIL’S PASS – #10
Why is DEVIL’S PASS #10? Because this is one wild ride in the snow that offers up some truly original chills involving yetis, time travel, conspiracy theories, Nazis, and all kinds of weirdness. Doing found footage right, DEVIL’S PASS is a damn fine film set in one of the coldest regions of the world. You can find it here on DVD/BluRay and on Amazon here!
DEVIL’S PASS (2013)
aka THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT
Find it on Netflix here!!
Directed by Renny Harlin
Written by Vikram Weet
Starring Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright, Ryan Hawley, Gemma Atkinson
Available from IFC Midnight; find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
These days, most horror fans wish found footage films were never found, and with the inundation of these cheaply made films in the past few years, I understand the sentiment. Still, a good movie is a good movie, found footage film or not, and a likable cast and some pretty gripping moments of horror and suspense make DEVIL’S PASS, formerly known as THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT, footage you might find interesting.
Directed by CLIFFHANGER, DIE HARD 2, and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 director Renny Harlin, one might think a director of this caliber would shy away from filmmaking often reserved for first time and amateur filmmakers. While THE BAY proved to be somewhat of a disappointment despite the fact that it was directed by an established director like Barry Levinson behind the camera, DEVIL’S PASS shows the scruffy Finnish Harlin going back to his more renegade style of filmmaking which landed him his chance at doing NIGHTMARE 4 in the first place. Here, Harlin is able to capture big thrills and avoid a lot of the contrivances often found in these types of film.
Sure, occasionally the camera falls in just the right spot one or two times in order to capture some key scene and there might be an occasional moment where the cameraman should probably drop the camera and run for his life instead of filming, but these moments are few and far between and Harlin keeps the action moving at a breakneck pace from the beginning of this school trip, which hopes to follow the exact route a team of explorers took in 1959 only to be found soon after, dead by mysterious means in the snow. The fact that this incident is a real mystery only adds to the ominous tone Harlin creates.
While everything from nuclear testing to UFOs comes up as possible explanations for the explorers deaths, Harlin crams a whole bunch of them into one potent mixture with ingredients I’ll keep secret since I think the combination of these elements make this film all the more special. All I can say is that somehow, Harlin makes it all work and comes up with a possible albeit far-fetched explanation as to what happened to the explorers and the students following in their footsteps in this film. Sure the explanation presented here is not very probable, but it makes for an entertaining yarn nevertheless.
The likable cast led by the spunky Holly Goss is better than most actors found in these types of films and does a good job at keeping everything flowing naturally. I also loved the things that happen in the periphery and behind the filmmakers that they don’t notice, such as creatures crawling through the snow in the background or through a tunnel in the distance. This adds more to the found footage aspect because it again embraces the immediacy of something accidentally caught on camera without it feeling staged. Add in some decent (yet not perfectly rendered) CG monsters and other fantastic effects and you’ve got a truly unique found footager that is a cut above the low budget fodder usually found in this genre. This one is definitely one of the better caught on camera style films I’ve seen this year and makes for a thrilling ride pretty much from its ominous start to its wickedly clever finish.
If you like what I wrote above, help me out and buy it on Amazon here
M.L. Miller goes by many names—Ambush Bug, Mark L. Miller, hey you jerk over there! He’s an original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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