Snow is falling all around them, and where Paul McCartney may be elated in hearing this, those saddled with the miserably poor thrills of Snow Falls are far from it. Nothing to cheer. No elation. No emotion. Come one come all to a festive-feeling feature which has no heart, no promise of soul. It does not need to because it releases in the frigid months it hopes to capture and is forgotten by almost everyone who does not plan out what they watch, months in advance, to capitalise on the waning and infrequent attitudes of potential readers. Snow Falls serves that particular purpose, a block in the big wall of releases. But beyond this reason, this meaningless, personal endeavour, it has nothing to it. No catch or hook to engage those desperate for some comfy, chilling horror.
But that is the trouble when trying to straddle a line between Until Dawn and Locked Down. Promisingly brief in its runtime but horribly bland in its stock-like opening and its obvious padding for time, Snow Falls, well, falls. Often. It cannot keep up with itself and what little story it has to offer. What it does display is an absolutely miserable yet laughable experience. Phones freezing because so too does the world in a wild aversion to global warming. Thankfully we as a world are pouring coal into our souls and doing whatever else we can to make sure Snow Falls can never truly happen. But it has happened. Here it is. Colton Tran directs with all the fear and gusto of a Hallmark horror piece, where the influences of the great outdoors impact the little commune now finding their footing within a massive mansion.
Their terror is our boredom, their Stockholm syndrome is our boredom also. As one character who is not interesting enough to remember the name of is told help is on the way, their friend, father or familiar begins to repeat they are cold. Then the phone freezes and ices over, as though they were playing the forgotten Candy Crush Saga rip-off, Frozen Free Fall. A few rounds of that cobbled-together trash is far greater an experience to the plain and uncoordinated “my first horror movie” scribbles Snow Falls consists of. Chillingly enough, this is Tran’s fifth go behind the camera. Their craft seemingly maintains a consistent, dire projection. Was it a turning point that sees Snow Falls rip off both Michael Keaton’s Jack Frost and The Thing? Sure, why not. At least the safe hands of the past are forming the poorly conceived attempts of the future.
To be trapped indoors as the inhabitants of this manor in Snow Falls are, watching this horrible horror, is no fate. Not even for those who spend their Thursday evenings not catching up on football or speaking to their family, but watching Snow Falls. Just Cabin in the Woods for the festive period, but not in a good way. Empty interactions, potentially horrifying moments which feign some fear, the terrible and constant sound effects which show Tran is not trusting of their own work, a disastrous turn cement Snow Falls in all its angsty anger. Miserably flat characters convene in a home for reasons forgotten swiftly, their survival and dependence on one another insincere. Snow Falls is less fun to watch than seeing two mildly disinterested penguins fight over fish guts in a midland aquarium. At least there you can feel the cold, and the berated feel of psychosis is less striking.