Jack Frost has been an on-again off-again favorite on video shelves for some time, and it's a mystery to me why that should be. Sure, the premise is pretty funny: a serial killer is killed by vat of "experimental acid" that mysteriously reincarnates him as a snowman made of the snow into which he was dissolved. He returns to the town in which he was captured (called "Snowmonton," naturally) to terrorize its inhabitants and especially the small-time sheriff who put him away.
What should have been a spoof of stupid teen horror films -- or at least a teen horror film with a few good in-jokes -- quickly deteriorates into a story in which all the characters must be idiots for the movie to continue. The snowman himself is a goofy foam construction whose arms disappear at random intervals, and the worst part of it all is that there's no freaking snow in Snowmonton! Yes, the credit cookies at the film's end acknowledge this rather bewildering fact, but the fact remains: for a film centered on a living snowman, there's very little of the white stuff on the town's roads, trees, or rooftops.
A few amusing aspects of the film spring to mind, like the horny teenagers shedding layer after layer of winter clothes (why exactly are they having sex in the sheriff's house?). Writer-director Michael Cooney certainly knows how to set up atmosphere and draw convincing characters, but there's something missing in the payoff. The film's ending -- and indeed most of its main plot development -- simply isn't as quirky or interesting as the sub-plots and incidental characters.
See our full review at Stomp Tokyo.
Jack Frost certainly looks good; almost any film made in the last ten years has a print that is clean enough for a virtually spotless DVD transfer. The digital artifacts usually present on a Simitar disc are there, which is unfortunate given the number of low-light scenes in the film. Still, it's better than watching it on a chewed-up videotape. Although the sound is nominally in Dolby 5.1, there weren't any directional sounds that I could discern.
Unfortunately, the DVD authoring, as on most Simitar discs, was handled by the Richard Diercks company. Diercks has done more to set back the cause of quality DVDs than any other single person. The chapter stops -- always eight of them -- are set more or less evenly through the running time with no particular attention paid to the natural breaking points in the film, and the menus are pure hell, with confusing terms like "random access" and "continuous play" marking the buttons. You can be sure that Simitar pays bottom dollar for the Diercks treatment.
The director's commentary for Jack Frost would probably be more entertaining than the film itself: Cooney certainly has some 'splaining to do, and a few words about the lack of snow (or a budget) would be welcome. Alas, this is a Simitar disc, so you'll get none of that. Not even the customary trailer graces this disc, and the touted "movie factoids" tell you nothing you couldn't glean from the back of the DVD case! If I thought there were going to be a special edition of this movie coming, I'd tell you to wait, but let's face it: this is the only version of this film we're ever going to see on DVD.
Chris Holland, 1/4/00