Hypothermia (2010)

Fear What Lurks Beneath…

Writer: James Felix McKenney
Director: James Felix McKenney

Making a low budget monster movie in the 21st century is a brave move. Some might call it foolhardy.

Hypothermia concerns two very different family groups ice fishing on a frozen Maine lake. But there aren’t many fish to catch this year, possibly because there’s something else under the ice that’s eaten them. It’s big, mean and hungry… and amphibious.

The film starts very well with a lot of atmosphere then picks up the pace as one of them is attacked. The joint group then attempts to catch what they still think is a big fish, with predictable results. There’s a lot of tension created by shadows under the ice.

The characters are all well drawn and acted with the interactions between them working really well. One thing I really liked is the way the characters reacted when one of them was killed: it wasn’t just scream then business as normal but actually had an impact on them. Yes, this is a monster movie with character development!

There’s just one thing that lets this monster movie down: the monster.

I’m not someone who usually cares about the special effects but a rubber suit really doesn’t cut it these days. It undermines the tension and punctures the tension, especially in the final scene. To his credit McKenney avoids showing us too many direct shots of the creature, preferring quick flashes of teeth and claws, but what we do see is too much.

If you can turn a blind eye to the creature itself then Hypothermia is a superior little monster movie. I’d like to see what McKinney could do with a real budget.