The Thaw (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror
Lions Gate || R - 94 minutes - $29.99 || October 6, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-10-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Mark A. Lewis
Writer(s): Mark A. Lewis & Michael W. Lewis (screenplay)
Cast: Martha MacIsaac, Aaron Ashmore, Kyle Schmid, Steph Song, Val Kilmer


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

In the next installment of Lionsgate’s Ghost House Underground series of independent horror films, The Thaw stars Martha MacIsaac as Evelyn Kruipen, the daughter of ecological guru Dr. David Kruipen (VAL KILMER) who is in the Canadian wilderness working on some sort of eco-mission. But when he and his team capture a polar bear (I guess they wanted to maybe tag it), they discover the beast has some sort of parasite inside it when the bear dies in their lab. Kruipen, whose relationship with his daughter has been on the decline, has invited her along with a couple students (AARON ASHMORE, KYLE SCHMID, STEPH SONG) wanting to meet him to his camp, however only a couple days later, he implores for his daughter to stay away as we watch him speak in front of the camera while his assistant keeps getting sicker and sicker.

Of course, David is unable to get a hold of his daughter, she decided to join the group for their venture into the middle of nowhere Canada, this despite her father gave strict orders for the helicopter pilot to send her away. But once they arrive, they find Kruipen’s lab eerily empty and something just not right with situation. And as with any movie with more than five characters, some gross things just may happen...

As you can guess, our intrepid students, the pilot and Kruipen’s daughter must find out what really happened especially after Kruipen’s assistant mysteriously appears and tries to sabotage the only ride home. What’s really going on here beyond an infectious parasite that, if let loose, could kill hundreds of thousands.

Rather than drone on about the “plot” — since it really just involves a bunch of bugs that infest human hosts and multiply — I’ll just say that outside of a couple questionable performances and a story that is fairly (for the most part) predictable, I actually enjoyed the film for what it was. Yes, once again Val Kilmer takes on a lesser role probably for the paycheck, but he does at least provide a little depth to an otherwise mundane and unknown cast (although anyone familiar with “Smallville” will know Ashmore).

The only issue I have with The Thaw is that the story, as scary as it could be at times, never quite clicked. I am thankful the ecological aspect was toned down and didn’t come off as preachy (I get it enough of it here in Oregon), so that is one positive note for an otherwise average script and story.

The Thaw isn’t going to break new ground in the genre or anything but it does provide a few scares and gross-out moments. The movie is entertaining enough to at least warrant a rental, but beyond that, you can wait...



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Not a whole lot to this Blu-ray aside from a Behind the Scenes (13:26) featurette, a Ghost House Micro Video and the red band theatrical trailer (1:51). The featurette is very basic going over the premise of the movie with comments from members of the cast (talking about their characters) and crew.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Thaw is presented with a 2.35 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Although fairly detailed at times with some natural grains and noise (giving it an unprocessed cinematic feel), it also was a tad washed out at times (especially outside). It’s not a terrible looking picture, but it could’ve been better.

On the surface, the DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t anything amazing, and it really isn’t especially since the vast majority of the film is dialogue, however when the bugs come into play, you definitely can hear the nasty sounds through each channel. Now, the big drawback, and probably due to the film’s low budget, is there is a nice semi-big explosion and that was low-key to say the least despite the big flames.



.::OVERALL::.

The Thaw actually is a decent little horror flick. The script probably could’ve used more work but between the production values and a decent cast, it might be worth checking out once, though it might disappoint some core horror fans.