AUGUST 17, 2012
Apparently I should have been paying more attention to Syfy's schedule, because there's usually 2-3 HMAD-able entries airing per week, and because they're trapped on my cable box, I have to make efforts to finish them before I go to work (if I am on the night shift). That leaves more time at work for Spider Solitaire! Thus, Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon, which aired a week or so ago, made a fine option for today (notice that this is the first review to post the same day I watched it in quite a while).
It's also not a bad little movie, and I can't help but wonder if there are other reasonably decent movies from this period, where Battlestar was bringing the channel lots of new viewers but they didn't have too many other original shows competing for attention (and presumably, money). Hell, the monster is a guy in a suit more often than not - they only opt for a CGI model when he has to jump long distances (like Riggins in John Carter!) and a few quick running shots. But when he's actually doing stuff of note - i.e. killing the human characters or (in a particularly odd moment) cuddling with one that he kidnapped, it's a good ol' fashioned guy in a big furry suit, which is exactly how I like it.
Another thing I appreciated was that they spent a lot of time on the basic survival aspect of their plight. I think I'd prefer something more like The Grey where they were picked off one by one as they tried to trek their way back to safety, instead of just sitting around the fuselage, but the need for food, fire, etc made up more of the movie than the Yeti, which is probably why they were able to go with a guy in a suit - he was probably only needed for 2-3 days, as they use him sparingly. And there's some creativity to this stuff - at one point a guy uses a disembodied arm to splint his own.
However, you have to give the script WAY too much leeway with regards to the logic of these scenarios. For example, the plane was supposedly in the air for hours (why they were flying over the Himalayas en route from the US to Japan is beyond me), and yet there's supposedly only a handful of candy bars left? The plane splits, but they go find the tail section, so between what should have been a pretty decent stock of food/drink and the snacks in people's carry-ons, they should have been fine in this department. Shit, my bag alone can usually feed someone for a week. I guess they just eat snow to make up for the lack of water (we never see it), but considering how little they eat over 5 days, there's no way they'd be able to carry on as they do during the film's climax.
No one seems to have too much problem with the cold, either. They complain, sure, but there's no frostbite or hypothermia of any sort, despite the fact that they're all just wearing pretty much what someone might for a late winter ski trip. I mean, yeah, it's a Syfy flick, so it's not like some stupidity kept me from enjoying the movie (someone on the IMDb was bitching about the fact that the altitude they claim wouldn't have trees - yeah it probably wouldn't have A GIANT FUCKING SNOW MONSTER EITHER), but if they're going to focus on this stuff more than the monster (i.e. what people came to see) then it'd probably be a good idea to make it a little more realistic. Meet us halfway!
I was surprised by the film's low body count for 90% of its runtime; the Yeti only kills 3 people throughout the main part of the movie, as he focuses more on the corpses of those killed in the crash. Apparently he realized his folly as the end drew near, doubling that count in the finale (including one guy I thought for sure would make it). Luckily, the survival elements keep it interesting so you're not just waiting for the next kill, but I have to assume some of the Syfy producers were nervous about how infrequently he appeared in the first hour or so - at one point they just cut to him randomly walking around, as if to say "Don't forget, at heart this IS a killer yeti movie!"
However there was an interesting little beat that I think could make for a cool movie on its own (not a Syfy one, a real one). The group's requisite asshole is the first to suggest cannibalism, which the others are opposed to. Later, a body disappears, and the others blame him for eating some of it and hiding the rest - which would be an AMAZING mystery for us if we didn't already see that it was the Yeti. I think it'd be a cool movie - a sort of "Ten Little Indians" scenario but where one of them is a cannibal. Or a Yeti.
My 4th note, right before the one about the cannibal segment, just says "Huh?", which means something confused me right around there. I can no longer remember what it was, but I'm guessing it didn't matter in the end. Just in case, I give this one a mild recommendation with the caveat that somewhere around the 45 minute mark (without commercials) there's an element that doesn't make any sense. But take it from me and my terrible memory - it's not a crippling flaw!
What say you?