Frightfest Halloween: Freeze (2022)

Director: Charlie Steeds

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Starring: Johnny Vivash, Ricardo Freitas, David Lenik, Jake Watkins, Rory Wilton, Tim Cartwright, Beatrice BarrilĂ 

The latest film from Dark Temple Pictures, writer/director Charlie Steeds attempts to blend Arctic horror and H.P. Lovecraft on a low-budget. The story follows Captain Mortimer (Rory Wilton), leading his expedition crew on a rescue mission to the North Pole. When their ship becomes frozen in the ice, matters are worsened by bloodthirsty fish-creatures forcing the crew to flee the ship. Trying to find safety amidst the icy wilderness, they find shelter within a snowy mountain, only to discover they've entered the heart of the creature's lair.

Mounting worries leave the crew at each-others throats, as the charted route becomes more treacherous and the chef anticipates food running out. The potential lies for tensions to bubble-up, resulting in the crew becoming each-others biggest threats before the monsters ever appear, which makes it unfortunate this element isn't expanded upon. When the cold's described as taking men's rationality to send them into a frozen white nightmare, it's disappointing that such an interesting idea feels out of reach. Instead, the film delivers horror without menace or tension, leaving moments intended to shock as feeling unsatisfying.

Despite an interesting design for the arctic fish-creatures, there's little thrills watching this unengaging crew fight for survival. Characters fall into one-note ideas, be it the privileged lieutenant onboard his father's ship or the bullied sketch-artist. They barely advance from their introductions, as lacklustre characterisation and thin relationships only allow the cast to wear decent costumes, deliver ham-fisted dialogue, and fight with the grace of a drunken pub-brawl. What's left resembles an idea dragged out for an unexciting and by-the-numbers film which sadly left this reviewer cold.

Freeze made its International Premiere at Frightfest Halloween