Great character actors Michael Rooker and Blanche Baker headline this low budget shocker about a strange creature lurking beneath icy waters. While it's good to see these seasoned vets, I couldn't help but wish they had a better film to support their talents. While Rooker makes the most of his role as a father and husband pushed to defend his family, Baker seems oddly strained and robotic. But performances aside, there is little in "Hypothermia" to excite movie-goers. You've seen so many variations of this story (back to the Creature From The Black Lagoon), "Hypothermia" really needed to bring something new or interesting to the discussion. And it really doesn't. The plot, such as it is, seemed stretched even with a scant 73 minute running time. The screenplay forces characters to consistently make the most idiotic choices to protract the story to its bloody conclusion. For example, after battling the underwater monster through several deaths, one character decides to lay down right next to a fishing hole for a rest. Genius, huh? I know that's what I'd do! You'd have to be as lame-brained as the characters not to foresee the result of this poor decision.
"Hypothermia" is, in the most classic sense, a throw-back to the cheapie monster movies of the fifties. Wait until you get a look at the murderous creature in question. It's a guy in a poorly fitting SCUBA suit and a bad mask. Far more silly than horrifying, this is a movie that would definitely have benefited by leaving the menacing creature largely unseen. But that's not the choice the makers went with, the creature is front and center and elicits a few more laughs than screams. Rooker and his family have a house on the shores of an icy lake. He, his wife, his son, and his son's girlfriend wander out for a day of ice fishing. A couple of clowns show up to share the ice with them. The father is so over-the-top, he seems to be impersonating Danny McBride at his most outrageous. When encountered with the dangerous beast, they eschew all logical choices to serve themselves up as fish food. It's all so awkward and clunky and familiar, there's not much fun to be had.
Maybe that's my primary problem with "Hypothermia." It takes itself so darn seriously. A little camp or humor would have lightened things up immeasurably. I love bad movie monster mayhem more than most. But "Hypothermia" wants to play as a straight-up shocker. But without genuine thrills or originality, it falls short of its goals. I loved the ridiculous creature! In a humorous spoof, it would have been an outrageously successful creation. But is it scary? Don't make me answer that. Enacting every cliche that you've come to expect, "Hypothermia" simply doesn't serve up satisfying drama or tension. The 73 minutes felt easily twice as long, especially when their cozy house is just a few paces away from the deadly mayhem. A silly and unoriginal misfire. KGHarris, 9/12.