Director: Anders Banke

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Frostbitten The opening credits for Frostbitten; aka, Frostbite (Frostbiten, 2006) are so moody, with such a great old Swedish swing tune on the soundtrack, that right away it seems a good film. It then bursts into action in World War II with some Swedes fighting in behalf of the Nazis against the Ruskies.

They're in the midst of a bloody skirmish in the snowy Ukrainian wilderness, surviving the battle only to become lost & assaulted by the brutal weather. Taking refuge in a mountain cabin, they're soon set upon by a vampire (Malin Vulcano). The best moment is the discovery of a baby vampire named Maria.

The scene then jumps to the modern day. When films establish a setting with characters then just leave them behind to start over, it risks losing the momentum or even the audience. The film gets a bit herky-jerky recovering its damaged momentum. But when it finally gets back on the beat, it's still pretty good.

It's polar night in northernmost Sweden, a place that provides the film's ad slogan "One month 'til dawn!" Annika (Petra Nielsen) is a young mother who has come to this godforsaken cold dark place to take a job in a nuthouse.

Her daughter Saga (Grete Havneskold) enroles in the highschool where most of the kids are a whole lot hipper than I find probable for a frigid village of the far north, but I've not been there, so who knows. Especially significant among classmates is Vega (Emma Aberg), the town's token goth chick.

FrostbittenOne of the doctors (Carl-Ake Eriksson) at the nuthouse appears to be performing sinister experiments on a comatose patient named Maria.

As the complete significance of his endeavors unfold, we'll eventually know for sure that the doctor is a survivor of the little band of Nazis who encountered vampires, & he still has a belief in all that Master Race nonsense.

His experiments with Maria's blood have helped him control his appearance & bloodthirst, transforming him into his imagined "advanced" being superior to humans. Really he is still just one helluva nasty vampire with a dose of megalomania.

A student doctor is a bit of a screw-up & petty criminal. He swipes drugs from the asylum & sells them to high school kids, mainly to Vega who further distributes them. She's having a major party that night & very disappointed when the doctor-thief turns out to have failed to get any good drugs for her event.

What he does have is some strange glowy-red capsules that have been made from the blood of the comatose patient. He took one himself & is getting very strange as a result. Vega steals his stash of glowy red pills to distribute at her party, & soon enough, there are vampires all over the damned place.

FrostbittenFor a European film, this is too obviously an imitation of American vampire fare, & a pretty standard teenage bloodlust slaughterfest is on the way.

Yet for some odd reason the filmmakers decided to put some creativity & spirit into the thing, ingredients missing from the campy American no-budget films these Swedes are imitating.

The screw-up doctor after sampling one of the vampire-pills soon discovers he can understand dogs' speech. It's probably only hallucinated as no one else has this power. It works as comedy relief in what is already packed with black comedy. When a dog sees one of the red pills on the floor & shouts, "Anything on the floor is mine!" or a dog on the street asks him if he's seen a lost ball, & you just gotta giggle.

The first dog gets all happy that the doc in pique of bloodlust chewed up a pet rabbit, saying, "I never liked that rabbit!" I'd like to have seen more of these sorts of exchanges, which really knocked the film out of the ordinary-pile. Like, a sad-funny sequence in which a dog laments that his master tried to kill the startled pooch, then joins in a battle against evil, that could've been so great, but the film just doesn't take it's most delightfuly notion very far.

There are other bits not as odd, but odd enough, such as upraise the film from mere slaughter-fest to a wittily suspenseful horror.

Annika, Saga's mom, soon falls prey to the Nazi vampire doctor but as she changes she manages not to be merely a psycho vampiric killer like everyone else. She keeps enough of her wits about her to meet the Nazi vampire in mortal combat, survive several good sequences with help of little Maria, then Maria & Annika set out to save Saga, who is very close to the only teenager left who isn't turned.

With several twists & surprises & vampiric slaughter all over town, the film delivers a nice deep dish of blood pudding, & is often quite funny without becoming merely a parody. Scary, maybe not, but then I watch a lot of this sort of thing so I'm hard to startle.

Truly a good-of-kind film. It's not often I wish for sequels that are all too inevitable for the genre, but in this case I'd like to know what happened to the survivors in the next chapter of their lives.

Continue to another subarctic vampire tale:
30 Days of Night (2007)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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