Doug JonesScott MacDonaldChristopher AllportDavid Allen Brooks
Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman
Medium: film
Year: 2000
Writer/director: Michael Cooney
Keywords: Christmas, horror, rubbish, slasher
Country: USA
Actor: Christopher Allport, Eileen Seeley, Chip Heller, Marsha Clark, Scott MacDonald, Ray Cooney, David Allen Brooks, Sean Patrick Murphy, Tai Bennett, Jennifer Lyons, Shonda Farr, Granger Green, Ian Abercrombie, Doug Jones, Stefan Marchand, Melanie Good, Stephanie Chao, Paul H. Kim, Brian Gross, Jason Hall
Format: 91 minutes
Website category: Horror modern
Review date: 21 December 2011
It's both better and worse than the original, which for me was a write-off. In other words, don't watch it. There's absolutely no reason to do so, unless you're some kind of masochistic hunter of rubbish, like me.
The story involves the first film's survivors going to a tropical island for Christmas. Christopher Allport has been seeing a psychiatrist in an attempt to deal with his issues, but Chip Heller and Marsha Clark are getting married. However to the surprise of anyone who hasn't seen this movie's title, the snowman comes back to life too and decides that he's going to follow his old friends to the tropics. (Don't ask.) Killing ensues.
What's worse than last time is that it's a surprisingly weak vehicle for Jack Frost. I won't pretend to have liked the original, but it was at least clear that its selling point was a wisecracking killer snowman. He's the star. You wouldn't try to do an A Nightmare on Elm Street film without Freddy Krueger, for instance. Here though Jack is usually either melted into water or else out of the picture entirely. It's the halfway point before we even see his snowman form. Instead of being a serial killer film, this is a "people on holiday" film in which Jack's disembodied voice will occasionally cut in as we watch a violent death or two.
Now in fairness there's a cool idea in the second half which temporarily lifts the movie into the realm of actual fun. Jack's snowballs hatch into fist-sized mini-snowmen as homicidal as the original, but also cute and extremely numerous. This is wonderful... for about ten minutes. Unfortunately thereafter it becomes clear that the movie-makers have neither the money nor the imagination to let the mini-snowmen go as nuts as you'll have been hoping, which drags down their potential and makes the film a silly runaround again. Jack returns for a final showdown, but even that's kind of throwaway. Bizarrely, this film lacks conflict. That must sound weird, but it does. Jack and the humans' parallel plots rarely intersect. Jack murders people at whim and no one even finds out. Meanwhile the humans wander around the island doing bugger all until the truth eventually gets out, whereupon they find themselves fighting snow monsters that are either pocket-sized and underwhelming or else capable of appearing and disappearing (mostly the latter) in the blink of an eye. The CGI looks really cheap too.
I kind of liked the film's first half, despite glitches, but it degenerated. It's an attempted comedy-horror with third-rate monsters and silly sub-comedy characterisation for the heroes. Its comedy isn't funny and its horror isn't horrific. It's a waste of time. I didn't hate it, but I'd stopped regarding it as a movie and was instead waiting for the closing credits.
However despite the above, at the same time this is better than the original film.
The original was belittling itself. It had stupid plot points and characters with the emotional integrity of psychopathic four-year-olds. Imagine the stupidest, most insulting definition of horror-comedy you can think of. Bingo. It went out of its way to be as shitty and shallow as possible. There was an enjoyable film buried in there for audiences with low standards (e.g. me), but it was as if the filmmakers kept beating me violently around the head to stop me from seeing it.
This film though works, if you overlook the crippling weakness of the plot, jokes, killings, snowmen and entire third act. Specifically the characters seem real, in a stupid way. The valiant Allport seems to think he's in a different and much more serious film, at least until the movie turns him into a mentally enfeebled joke in the third act. By an unfortunate coincidence, in real life Allport was an avid skiier and died in 2008 in an avalanche. Meanwhile the English colonel in charge of the holiday resort (Ray Cooney) is eccentric but charming, at least until he pulls the usual "don't tell anyone about the serial killings" stunt and becomes by default evil. The film doesn't seem to realise this, but he does. David Allen Brooks knows what kind of movie he's in and provides a familiar face for us Babylon 5 fans who remember Crusade. Doug Jones (Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) gets a cameo as a dying man in a dinghy and is shockingly bad. Several cast members return from the first film, presumably caring nothing for their careers. If nothing else, at least this movie offers a few nuggets for cast-spotters.
Furthermore, I quite liked the characters they were playing. Their ridiculous or stupid behaviour seemed believable, instead of undermining the movie. Captain Fun (Sean Patrick Murphy) is a gold-plated twat, for instance, but I could believe in him and he added to the film. Cooney and Brooks are probably mad, but in context this works. "Flakes need more raisins, Bobby!" The film's attempts at comedy (e.g. talking ice cubes on the nipples) often come across as merely strange and perhaps a bit mentally unbalanced, but that adds flavour. Similarly the boy-chasing bimbos are of no interest unless you're waiting for them to get naked (sorry), but they're not actually offensive to watch. This is better than last time.
There are occasionally scenes that feel like attempted cinematic suicide, mind you. The dinghy boys made me cringe. The introductory scene with Allport and his psychiatrist is great and almost upsetting, oddly, until the film pushes its non-joke too far.
We also see tits. Nudity is good, although they could have had more. We have to wait until the halfway point to see that much, despite the fact that Jack's victims have almost all been gorgeous girls in swimwear. However be sure to avoid the VHS version, which is heavily edited down from the DVD cut and has no nudity, fewer kills and less gore and swearing. You know, because it was so important to be able to show this film to the greatest possible audience.
Oh, and the small town of Snowmonton has an international airport, despite the fact that in the first film they were completely cut off by the weather and nothing had a chance of getting through, either by air or road.
In summary: terrible. A poor excuse for a movie, disliked even by many fans of the first one. It's not fit for purpose, since its comedy isn't funny, its horror isn't scary and its slasher doesn't even bother going after his enemies but instead keeps killing unimportant idiots who only exist to be victims in a schlocky horror movie. It's not even good trash. Even what you'd expect to see in the sleaziest exploitation pulp isn't here. However until the movie falls off a cliff in the last act and just becomes a dull mess, it's an improvement on the original. It has good bits, like the mini-snowmen (for a while) and the badly dubbed Japanese sailors in the closing credits.
"Has the Grump Monster stolen your happy dust? Sounds like a job for... Captain Fun-un-un!"