The Chill Factor is a little heralded slasher from the early 1990s. Resurrected on blu ray by the wonderful folk at Arrow, this rarely seen slice & dice is available now for all horror fans out there to see. But is it worth your hard earned cash? Well, read on to find out…
The Chill Factor Synopsis:
Taken from the Arrow website:
The Exorcist meets the Winter Olympics in this tale of demonic possession and snowbound slashing from director Christopher Webster, producer of Hellraiser and Hellraiser II: Hellbound.
For a group of young couples, a snowmobiling trip turns into a waking nightmare when one of their number is thrown from their vehicle and knocked unconscious. Seeking refuge in a nearby abandoned summer camp, the group find themselves holed up in a cabin filled with bizarre and ominous religious artefacts. As night falls, the discovery of a Ouija board amidst the dusty relics awakens a terrifying evil.
So, it all sounds great, right? Ouija boards, waking nightmares, an abandoned camp? Perfect ingredients for a good old fashioned slasher. Or so you would think. And for reasons known best only to the makers, there is an entirely unnecessary racism subplot. Oh, and a totally unresolved incest one as well.
The Chill Factor has all the ingredients required for a bit of DTV fun. The remote location, the bizarre happenings, the isolated protagonists. And yet, it fails to engage on a meaningful level. The film begins with a “dream sequence/flashback” accompanied by the wort voice over narration in history. The woman doing the v.o. sounds beyond bored, putting little to no emotion into her soliloquy.
Now, the racism subplot is over and done with in less than a dozen lines of dialogue. It is baffling as to why it is even there in the first place. And the incest plot? It is set up like it will be important, but then gets pretty much ignored for the remainder of the film. Speaking of which, it takes a hell of a long time to get going. It’s a good 30 minutes in before we really reach the films primary location, and another 30 or so before the expected (and required) slaying actually begin. And in a film that barely reaches the 83 minute mark, that’s just too long.
Now, the cast struggle manfully with the stilted, poorly crafted script as best they can. But far too much of the film is clunky exposition and padding. When the gore and violence do arrive, it’s all rather a damp squib. Sure, the icicle through the eye effect is good, but the other “set piece” murder is done by simply showing a wall being splattered with gore. There is also a nice fire stunt at the end, but that’s your lot really. A bit of blood here and there. Oh, and there is some low end, softer than softcore sex scenes.
I will mention the films score at this point. It feels like it should be on a Hallmark “movie of the week” rather than a DTV horror film.
Given the films background, and low budget nature, Arrow have done a bang up job with The Chill Factor. It looks far better than it has any right to do. Yes, it’s quite grainy and dark in places, but overall, it looks pretty decent. Audio is a simple 2.0 mix, and frankly, that’s all the film needs.
The extras are as follows:
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Brand new audio commentary with special effects artist Hank Carlson and horror writer Josh Hadley
- Brand new on-camera interview with makeup artist Jeffery Lyle Segal
- Brand new on-camera interview with production manager Alexandra Reed
- Brand new on-camera interview with stunt coordinator Gary Paul
- Still Gallery
- Original VHS trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach
The Chill Factor Verdict:
Despite my criticisms, this is actually an enjoyable film to watch. Seriously. It is so bad it’s entertaining. I’d say this is a low key campy classic of the genre.
3/5 Fiends. Fun, especially if you appreciate campy trash horror.
Buy The Chill Factor: Arrow Video Store