It doesn’t always have to be sci-fi or horror creatures that can bring death in the snow, as The Thaw shows that parasitical bugs can be even more terrifying.
(Canada 2009, director: Mark A. Lewis)
A research scientist asks a group of students to help him with his work, but together with his daughter, the young people find that some parasites have broken out of a thawed mammoth and which soon become a danger for the whole world.
There’s something quite unsettling about movies that use real life organisms, even if they’re only shown in CGI instead of people having vampire masks on or nightmarish latex puppets held close to the camera. While the environmentalism message is a bit heavy handed in the beginning and at the end of the movie, the fear of slowly being devoured by these small parasites is more disgusting than any prop can ever be. It’s not very original in its idea of showing people in isolation who become more concerned about their own safety (although that’s only the case with one person here) than to help each other, but it’s still quite effective. While the story is very simple, it has a surprising twist and nice pacing, as there isn’t a lot of unnecessary downtime.
Unfortunately, the characters aren’t particularly memorable, so only the situations they’re put in make the audience relate to them. Of course this could also be said about The Thing (1982), but here the shorter runtime works better, as the small talk is kept at a bearable minimum before the horror and terror starts. Being confined to only one place shows the low budget at times, but it’s enough to create tension and disgust in some scenes where the camera doesn’t shy away from worms moving under skin or an amputation taking place.
One shouldn’t expect a lot of action, but the special effects of the CGI worms and gory scenes are quite good. Acting can be a bit ropey at times, especially with some unintentionally funny lines, but it doesn’t really have an effect on the suspense. The movie is certainly not the best in the genre, as it doesn’t provide any original ideas, but it’s still worth watching if one wants a more realistic scenario than people getting killed by vampires, zombies, or an alien force.
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