Crimson Winter (2013)

Wow. I really don’t know what to say. I am beginning to think that I may be lacking the words to describe how bad this film actually is. But it is my own fault. I guess it should have been enough of a warning to see that the writer, the director, the male lead, and the producer, are all one and the same person (Bryan Ferriter)!

 

This film has two different strands of narrative. One is a human storyline set in present day Montana. It involves five young people who are going on a hike deep in the wilderness. You know, the “even-GPS-does-not-know-that-this-place-exists” kind of hikes typical of traditional cheap and not-so-cheap horror films. And this is exactly how this human storyline in set up and evolves: an absolutely traditional wilderness horror story, where the young people in question run into forces beyond their imagination.

Two good things I can say about this human storyline: it is told relatively straightforwardly and with an inner logic; and: it is reasonably well cast with adequate performances by the actors in these rather unchallenging roles.

The other narrative thread is that of the vampires. It starts in the early middle ages and as far as we as an audience can tell there is a rivalry between those vampires that want to live in harmony with humans and those that regard humans as their enemy. That is about as much sense as you can make from this storyline.

As the film jumps between the human and the vampire storylines from scene to scene, the vampire narrative rushes through the centuries and you can only vaguely tell what happens, but definitely not why it happens. At no point does any conversation in this film involving two or more vampires make much sense. These dialogue scenes rarely convey any useful information that would further the plot or unfold the narrative in front of the audience. Instead it is simply vaguely heroic, vaguely epic drivel. One would be tempted to say “all style and no substance”, but there is not much style to brag about. Basically, the actors involved in these scenes in their costumes and with their pointless dialogue increasingly look like a bunch of twentysomethings playing “real life” dungeons and dragons in the woods.

 

So, where do those two strands of narrative leave us?

Nowhere.

It takes 50 minutes until the humans and the vampires finally confront each other; which does not bode well for the humans. Because ironically and nonsensically, although we are talking here about that group of vampires which strives for a harmonious co-existence between humans and vampires, their priorities are directed towards the preparation for a full-on-battle with the opposing vampire faction, and leave very little room for the interests of the humans.

In a way you could read that as some sort of message: that sometimes you get so pre-occupied with the worthy cause you are fighting for that you lose all perspective regarding the means you are employing. But I very much doubt that this was the filmmakers’ intention.

 

If the humans and the vampires actually at any point exchanged any meaningful words or views, the plot might have had the potential to become somewhat engaging. But their verbal interaction is too little, too late.

Adding insult to injury, none of the issues or plot-lines of this film are resolved, and the film instead ends on a sort of cliff-hanger of the worst kind. You know, the kind that says: our film is already 98 minutes long, let’s just try to wrap this up somehow.

So the final act seems a bit like they made it up as they went along, and further evidence for that is the fact that midway through the film they introduce another faction that we have never heard of before – apparently an afterthought by the writer-director.

 

What else can I tell you? All medieval and/or early modern battle scenes in this film are in extreme close-up, in order to try to make it less obvious and ridiculous that there are only a handful of people on the “battle field”. These battles, as well as the fights of the vampires with the humans are all rather badly choreographed, and although you always feel that the actors involved try their very best it rarely looks convincing.

 

So this film gets 1 out of 10 points from me; maybe 1.5 for effort.

Because although this is a really bad film, there are one or two interesting ideas hidden in there somewhere which would have deserved to be developed with a budget a little bit higher and by a writer-director much much more talented. At any rate, imdb’s current rating of 2.7 is far too gracious.

And just to make this absolutely clear: I can recommend this film to absolutely no-one. This is not one of the so-bad-it’s-funny kind of films – this film is just plain bad!

 

 

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