Written by: Mark L. Lester (story), Rafael Jordan
Directed by: Paul Ziller
Starring: Marc Menard, Carly Pope and Adam O'Byrne
Reviewed by: Brett Gallman
It kills in cold blood.
Last December, I watched The Abominable Snowman and Snowbeast, which I can only assume represent the height of the ďkiller yetiĒ subgenre. This, of course, hasnít deterred me from somehow acquiring the more dubious flicks it has to offer. And believe me, nothing says ďdubiousĒ quite like a killer yeti movie that premiered on the Sci-Fi channel (you know, back when they could spell it right), which was the case with Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon. However, it can also boast Mark Lester as one of its writers; donít ask me how the guy that brought us Class of 1984 and Commando fell so far, but his presence is pretty much the sole reason I decided to watch this one. Well, that, and what else am I going to do on a Thursday evening?
Plus, if thereís one thing I like more than crappy killer animal movies, itís college football, and this somehow merges the two, as Yeti finds the State College Grizzlies (only the most generic fake team name ever) flying over to Tokyo to play a ballgame. Their plane crashes somewhere over the Himalayas, leaving a small pack of survivors stranded. Of course, they arenít alone, as a native Yeti stalks the very site they managed to land on. So, instead of dodging linebackers and defensive linemen, quarterback Peyton Elway (Marc Menard) has to somehow keep his team together and avoid being mauled by the abominable snowman.
I was fully prepared to make fun of this movie, but it kind of won me over a few minutes in when it dropped a reference to my alma mater and current ACC Champion, Clemson University. Iím pretty sure this is the first time Iíve stumbled upon a reference to the true university of South Carolina in a horror movie, and that sort of miracle is exactly what something like this needs to get me on its good side. Of course, screenwriter Rafael Jordan kind of bungles things shortly after this by mentioning that State College will be playing the first ever college football game in Japan, which is inaccurate; had he done his homework, he would have known about the old Mirage Bowl, which Clemson actually managed to play in twice. Iím pretty sure Jordanís knowledge of football extends to knowing that thereís a couple of quarterbacks named Elway and Peyton, so he stuck their two names together and hoped we wouldnít notice. Iíd be happy if I could report that this dearth of football knowledge is the biggest problem the film has, but itís not.
Iíd also feel bad about the huge digression that was the last paragraph because it tells you nothing of the filmís quality, but, hey, I shouldnít have to tell you this isnít a good movie. Of course it isnít, but I guess itís not bad as far as killer Yeti movies go (Iím actually not being facetious there). Yeti is certainly cheap, predictable, and formulaic (the only real ďtwistď is that there's multiple Yetis), but thereís nothing pretentious about it. At one point, one of the guys insists that they canít start fighting each other, which maybe points to some self-awareness of this type of movie, but, no, they all end up at each otherís throats anyway. Peyton eventually clashes with mega-jerk Ravin (Adam OíByrne), who takes the ďegregious selfish assholeĒ bit to pretty extreme levels. Heís essentially the guy that you canít wait to see get ripped apart by the Yeti--not that you particularly want anyone among the cast to avoid the fate.
Thankfully, most of them donít, so thereís plenty of opportunities for gore showcases. Most of the grue effects seemed to be practical, from the curb-stomped heads to the severed limbs; really, this is probably the movie everyone wishes Snowbeast was, as the Yeti carnage is kind of incredible and outrageous. The beast itself is awesomely shitty looking, with the man in the suit only being outdone by the terrible CGI augmentations that allow the creature to move as a herky-jerky blur. When all this isnít going on, youíll be treated to similarly laughable dialogue (ďyou shot him in the face!Ē) and stupid decisions, such as when a guy decides to throw a snowball at the Yeti. The beast isnít impressed, and apparently the idiot is frozen in fear, so he just stands there and lets the Yeti rip his heart out, which is great. Another ill-fated guy goes to take a piss, and Iím guessing the monster had a bad experience with yellow snow, so he repays him in kind.
Oh, and the climax kind of riffs on the Rankin/Bass Rudolph special, only we donít get to find out if this ďbumbleĒ bounces. All in all, I could probably only come up with a few dozen better ways to spend a Thursday evening rather than the expected few hundred. Not that thatís much consolation, but there it is. After this debuted on Sci-Fi (where I imagine it was actually seen by hundreds, not dozens), it came to DVD thanks to Grodfilm, who put out a no-frills, bare bones disc, though the presentation is fine. The transferís anamorphic, and the soundtrack is 5.1, with both being pretty unremarkable. Donít expect a special edition of Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon anytime soon, but, if the last shot is any indication, maybe a sequelís on the horizon. I can only hope so, if only to fill the void of a future Thursday evening that desperately needs some killer Yeti action. Rent it!
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