Jack Frost Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
Dashing rapidly through this holiday season and we come to our next holiday horror movie, in hopes of finding the elusive holiday spirit, in the form of a 1997 classic, Jack Frost. A festive thrill ride that gets talked about a lot this time a year. May have gotten panned by professional reviewers, but is a rather beloved B Movie Gem. The fan base alone managed to power it to a sequel. Does it deserve the accolations though? Let’s dive in and discuss shall we, and see where Jack Frost lays.
Story starts out with a bit of narration from an exaggeratedly sounded little girl and creepy old uncle. Telling her the story of Serial Killer Jack Frost, while the screen pans over a Christmas Tree and credits on ornaments. Finishing with him saying Jack is set to be executed at midnight and we just to him being transported to his execution. Showing off his lethality, by killing a guard while shackled, to get his cigarette. The truck collides with a GCC truck, allowing him to momentarily escape. Before he can kill the guard though. Gets doused in acid and melts, but the acid bonds him into the snow on a molecular level. As he disappears. The snow begins to bubbles, rises, and he escapes. We jump to Sheriff Sam Tiler, returning from a trip with his family. Haunted by the memory of Jack. He was the small town Sheriff who busted him and his threat to kill him, his family, and the town. Relieved to see the clock pass midnight and relieved by him thinking Jack was gone. He goes through the accident scene, but doesn’t think much on it. We see a bit going on, but not much. Jumping to the next day, we meet Sam’s family. His wife and idiot son (More on that later) and we go through the towns folks. Setting up Jack’s threat from earlier. Ending with him getting to the police station and finding out, Old Man Harper is dead. He call the FBI and gets Agent Manners, who lies about Jack being dead, and we see him talking to Stone. Learning more about the acid. Back in town, the townsfolk are already up in arms and ready to hunt the killer down. Fueled by the shopkeep. Slashing the price of ammo, in a scene that made me laugh. Back at Sam’s house though. His son is confronted by a group of bullies who want to use the drive to sled ride..on straight ground. When one gets to close, Jack, in the form of the snowman attacks, and lead bully gets his head cut off by one of the metal sleds. Of course, no one believes him, and later that night. Jack takes out the bullies parents and this is where the movie gets rolling and perfect place to stop for those who haven’t watched yet.
I gotta tip my hat to writer director Michael Cooney, the writer director, because he managed to do so much with so little to work with. As corny of a story this was, he really made it work quite well. As a horror comedy movie. Knew when it was time to laugh and when to be serious, wove it together perfectly. Snowman jack looked good and utilized him so well. The deaths were gory. Particularly when Jack was dissolved by acid and when Tommy was spiked by icicles. The bathroom scene was so over the top, circled right back to funny again. Good moments of foreshadowing, with the Oats and the woman’s conversation about being the star on the christmas tree. Michael Cooney knew exactly what kind of movie this was and brought them together the best he could, and think it would have suffered without him.
On the casting side, think there best was Scott MacDonald, was picture perfect. His voice work was awesome, and that was so needed for a killer snowman, but at the start, when he was human, he excelled. We didn’t get much, which was a shame, because he carried himself with sadistic poise and believed he was every bit as lethal as they feared him to be. Would almost been nice to see more of that version, but it did help carry over to the snowman version. Along with having the likes of Christopher Allport playing the protagonist Sam. Able to bring out the small town sheriff in a likeable way. Coming across as the guy who loves his town and knows every single person on a personal and friendly way. Such a pure good guy who is rocked and traumatized by his brief time around the pure evil Jack. Chris and Scott not only played well off one another and elevated one another in the process.
Even the support cast was pretty decent. Shannon Elizabeth played Jill and her death scene will probably be what will be one of the most remembered scenes, but her and Tommy’s undressing scene was hysterical. Rob LaBelle did a good job as the weasel Stone and the over the top agent was made special by Stephen Mendel. No one seemed out of place and played as people you would expect to find in a small, hick town.
Alright, on to the negatives. The biggest one, being Sam’s son, and this might very well be on me, but that kid seemed a little to old to not know he shouldn’t put Antifreeze in food. Feeling like the writing got a bit sloppy around him quite a bit. The food being the biggest one, and then again with the whole bully situation. I get that him saying the snowman did it was something no one would believe, but the Jack’s arm hangs out for a long while for everyone to see and why are they sledding on flat ground anyway. I don’t dislike the kid, but anytime he was present. Just knew something dumb was soon to follow.
Some of the jokes tend to fall flat from time to time. I don’t mind them. Not bashing them for making the jokes. Just weren’t that funny. Don’t read much into this complaint, cause it never ones breaks my immersion, but just something that I wish was a little better.
This movie has always been high up on my viewing list for this time of year. It is corny and over the top, but it is so much fun. The people in the town are relatable and Scott makes Jack a credible threat before the transformation which is such an underrated value. Would gladly suggest this film to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Perfect movie to watch this time of year.
Thank you for reading