I’m glad that filmmakers are still making flicks like this. It’s schlock from the ground up, and the only thing that harms its shitty movie cred is the fact it was filmed in digital HD. Pardon a short rant that is going to make me sound like the old man I am steadily becoming, but shitty movies in the age of celluloid had an extra sheen of cheapness that has been lost. In the past, shitty filmmakers had to rent cheap cameras and lenses, and buy substandard film stock and processing, to get their films made. The difference in visual quality was stark, compared to big time productions. These days, however, a movie can get made with a digital SLR that costs a few thousand bucks, or even a smartphone, and the visual quality is much closer to what one gets from proper, high-end digital cameras. Part of the joy of watching an old shitty movie is bad film stock, and that is gone forever. Too bad. Anyway…
2037: Winter’s Dream, as clumsy a film title as one will find, comes to us via writer/director Joey Curtis. It’s the future, probably somewhere around the year 2307. Mankind has brought environmental disaster to the entire planet. It’s not global warming, however. Rather, a new ice age has been ushered in, forcing the few remaining pockets of civilization to retreat underground. The film takes place in and around Phoenix, Arizona, but exteriors were shot in the Buffalo, New York area, during what looks to have been a rough winter (enhanced by some bargain CGI). Think about that, Buffalonians. Your winters are so rough they look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. You probably know that already, though.
Scientists in this horrible future have engineered a new race of humanoids to be their slaves. They have white skin, black blood, and glowing yellow eyes. More importantly, they can survive the Arctic surface temperatures without protective gear. One of these humanoids, ASH-393 (Brandon Coles), leads a bloody slave rebellion, fleeing into the wastes with his brethren. During the escape many lives are lost, including the wife of the film’s main character, Bishop (Paul Sidhu, who also has a story credit).
Bishop is part of what passes for the military in the future, and he went on one hell of a bender after learning of his wife’s death. But, he gets scraped off the floor, showered and shaved, and given a mission to hunt down his wife’s killers. As an added twist, it turns out his wife was pregnant, and ASH cut the baby out of the womb and is raising it as his own.
Bishop is given a team of shitty movie roughnecks to command, and off into the wasteland they go.
The team is typical of action flicks, shitty or otherwise. It’s kept small due to budgetary constraints, and lacking in acting talent, also due to budgetary constraints. There is Subatai (Fernando Argosino), whose purpose in the film is early fodder; Ishmael (Timothy Lee DePriest), a longtime friend of Bishop; resident tough guy El Hatta (Kelcey Watson), who, somehow, managed to immigrate to Phoenix despite there being an ice age; and Kix (Arielle Holmes). I could write an entire article about Kix. Not because she’s all that interesting, or portrayed all that well by Holmes. Rather, it’s because Kix’s favorite book is a dogeared copy of Mein Kampf. She quotes the book all the time as justification for hunting down and killing the humanoids. There are other ways to make an audience hate a character, surely. This film was released in 2016, making Kix’s literary choices weighty, and also needlessly provocative. I thought it was enough that the character was an asshole, without her being a racist fascist. But, hey, that’s me.
Not long after getting on the road, their super-duper future truck is blown up, and it’s walkies for the rest of the film. At about the halfway point, I was getting sick of watching the team trudge across the ice, and was beginning to think Curtis and company didn’t know how to end the film. But, there are some twists and turns, new characters are introduced, and Curtis uses all of this film’s 101 minutes to bring the film to a convoluted end.
The final act is set up for some lovely violence, and there is some, but it’s mostly a dialogue-heavy finale. Curtis must have been strapped for cash, as this act has a lot of characters standing around in the snow talking at each other, and not enough ass kicking.
There was much promise to this film, but it’s rarely a good sign for a shitty movie when it gets slower and slower as the film progresses. It’s not death to a shitty movie if it loses focus and limps towards denouement, but it does hurt watchability. As such, it falls into the nether regions of the Watchability Index, bumping Dead Trigger out of the #266 slot. I may be glad that movies like this are still being made, but I’m much happier when they manage to also stick the landing. This one did not.