Written By: Aurora Caskey
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Michael Cooney
Producers: Barry L. Collier, Barbara Javitz, Jeremy Paige, Vicki Slotnick
Writers: Jeremy Paige & Michael Cooney
Release Date: November 18, 1997
Scott MacDonald as Jack Frost
Christopher Allport as Sam Tiler
Stephen Mendel as Agent Manners
William Parker as Paul Davrow
Shannon Elizabeth as Jill Metzner
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
The story begins and the theme for the film is set when an unseen “Uncle Henry” tells a disturbing story to his niece on Christmas Eve. This prologue sets up the tale of Jack Frost, a serial killer who made his way across the Midwest murdering people and baking them into pies. The first scene shows the real killer Jack being transported to his final destination. He was captured on a routine traffic stop by local sheriff Sam Tiler and is to be put to death after exhausting his appeals. While transporting Jack on the snowy day, the police’s vehicle crashes. Jack escapes his restraints, kills one of the officers in the truck, and almost escapes before he is blasted by some type of acid that melts his body in seconds.
But that’s not the end of killer Jack. The acid, which was part of some type of government experiment, unexplainably combines with Jack’s molecules and fuses with the snow to create a demon shaped like a snowman. Hence, Jack Frost is born anew as the killer snowman. Jack Frost, with the ability to melt and refreeze his body at will, goes on a town-wide killing spree. When Sheriff Sam Tiler finds out who is behind the murders, he must try to stop the killer snowman from harming more people.
There’s a decent amount of gore to satisfy horror fans. Also, I give Jack Frost credit for inventive and creative death scenes. Some examples throughout the film display someone liquified with acid, another stabbed with an icicle, and another woman raped to death by a snowman. That last one is questionable by today’s standards, but I’ll let it slide because the movie does not show any nudity from actress, Shannon Elizabeth. The scene is so ridiculous that it is hard to stay mad. In Elizabeth’s scene, we see her blow drying her hair before hopping into a bath (with her hair down?!). This was clearly written by a man. Then the bath turns to snow and Jack Frost rises from the tub with poor Shannon stuck inside him. Overall, the death scenes are unique and at times comedic.
The Grave Review
Jack Frost (1997) was a straight to video release that came only one year before the better-known, family-friendly comedy of the same title starring Michael Keaton. Although not dispositive, there is usually a good reason why a film is being released directly to video. Jack Frost is a film, that although has some good qualities, is a perfect straight to video film. One cannot help but wonder whether this was a rush film due to its poor acting, dialogue, plot and special effects.
The acting and dialogue leave something to be desired. With the exception of Sam Tiler (Christopher Allport), the acting is soap opera quality at best. Jack Frost and the “FBI” agents are over the top, while Shannon Elizabeth, although charming, is extremely green. The special effects are clearly where most of the budget went. There are some scenes where they go all in and show the grisly details (like the acid scene) and others where the camera cuts back and forth to show the aftermath rather than showing the full murder. While the quality of the special effects were uneven, the special effects overall were of higher caliber than I was expecting from a straight to video B movie.
Is Jack Frost (1997) a ‘good’ movie? No. Should you see it? Absolutely. There are so many boring, problematic, and just plain bad Christmas movies, most of them aimed at female and/or family audiences. We are sorely lacking in horror movies that take advantage of the holiday season. Christmas can be a dark time, even for those who do not celebrate it. The frigid weather and imposed family time can often make you feel isolated. If you’re like me, a good holiday horror is the perfect way to lean into the darkness of the season rather than glossing over it. A fun, fluffy, scary movie like Jack Frost might be just the thing to break the ice (pun intended) at your family gathering this year.
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