Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Cold (1984)

It takes considerable chutzpah, or a complete lack of shame, to end a movie with a voice over that can be summarised as "well, that didn't make a lick of sense, did it?".  But that is what this film does.

You might think it would be a smarter play to, you know, make a movie that makes sense.  But that would require both competence and effort, and this is a Bill Rebane production.  Rebane's crossed our path often enough by now to know that neither of these can be considered strong points of his.

The premise of the film is that three bored millionaires have invited nine strangers to participate in a kind of tournament, which they call simply "The Game" (this is also an alternate - and more appropriate - title for the movie).  The rules of the game are somewhat vague, but the core of it appears to be that they will make it unpleasant for the nine contestants to stay, and whomever sticks it out longest will win a big cash prize.

This is a recipe not just for the millionaires to inflict simple discomforts such as turning the thermostat way down (hence the film's name) or messing with the electricity, but also for Rebane to indulge in all sorts of scary staples.  Spiders!  Snakes!  Sharks!  Oh my!  We should probably be grateful his budget didn't stretch to a Spider-Shark, though it did stretch to an "alien" that resembles the love child of ET and a chestburster.

Something entertainingly schlocky could probably have been salvaged from this setup - I have a perverse wish that Andy Sidaris had given it a go - but Rebane is not the man for the task.  Having persuaded his female cast to show some skin (often without regard to whether it makes any sense for them to do so: because seriously, if the place is cold then wandering around in next-to-nothing or less makes no sense) he seems to feel his job has been done and all he needs to do is film enough extra stuff to pad out the run time to feature length.

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