Red Snow Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Jinga Films
Written and directed by Sean Nichols Lynch
2021, 80 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Released on 6th December 2021
Denise Cisneros as Olivia Romo
Nico Bellamy as Luke
Laura Kennon as Jackie
Vernon Wells as Julius King
When vampire fangirl and wannabe romance novelist Olivia (Dennice Cisneros) finds a near-dead vampire on her doorstep, she thinks that all of her Christmases have come at once. Partly because it is actually Christmastime in snowbound Lake Tahoe. Not only does she now have company for Christmas, she’s also able to take notes on her vampire romance manuscript from the real thing. But when Luke’s (Nico Bellamy) bloodsucking brethren come looking for him, Olivia is forced to put everything she has learned about vampire slaying to good use. For Olivia, this Christmas is gonna suck.
Another thing which is gonna suck – this movie, if you’re not a fan of extremely low budget horror. A lot of things can be forgiven, when watching independent horror – shonky special effects, ugly visuals and wooden acting are par for the course, at this end of the spectrum. Those sins are harder to forgive in a film which is largely driven by its dialogue. Sean Nichols Lynch’s comedy horror film Red Snow is almost entirely dialogue, putting a whole lot on the shoulders of Cisneros and Bellamy.
To their credit, the pair are almost up to the task. Cisneros exudes good energy as Olivia, blustering through her inexperience with charm and cheer. Bellamy isn’t quite so fun, but he has the looks to make it work; an off-brand Alexander Skarsgard in True Blood. Lynch’s script gives them a number of funny lines each, especially in their (outdated but amusing) dissection of Twilight and its vampire romance tropes. Olivia’s novel sounds like such utter dogshit that any measure of her success as a novelist is hard to buy, but it’s a funny running gag, regardless.
But the pair’s agreeable charm can only paper over so many cracks, and the script frequently exceeds its performers’ capabilities. Likeable as they may be, there’s very little chemistry between the two of them, and neither one can sell the script’s darker, more emotional moments. For a film billed as Near Dark meets Misery, it’s desperately lacking its Severen or Annie Wilkes. The supporting cast only make Cisneros and Bellamy seem worse by association, featuring more unscary vampires and a spectacularly unintimidating vampire hunter.
Lynch has less trouble with his visuals. Between the snowy landscape of Olivia’s small town and her garishly decorated cabin, the film looks good – if surprisingly bright, for a vampire movie. The special effects, too, are pretty decent, featuring simple but effective creature designs and sparingly employed gore. The low-stakes action falters whenever someone stops to rant or make jokes, but it’s better done than it could have been.
If comedy horror is a tricky balance to get right, doing so without a budget or proper comedy actors is even harder. The fitfully amusing, frequently smart Red Snow largely gets it right, thanks to likeable leads and a script that’s wittier than some.
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