Frozen stiff

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

THIS DIS­TINCTLY av­er­age thriller, based on some comic or other, be­gins in the 1950s with a Soviet plane crash­ing spec­tac­u­larly in the Antarc­tic waste­land.

Much, much later, Of­fi­cer Kate Beck­in­sale – af­ter briefly, need­lessly re­mov­ing her clothes to sat­isfy dumber view­ers who didn’t pay to see the Beck­ster in an anorak – sets out to solve an ap­par­ent mur­der on a nearby base. She peers cu­ri­ously at blood sam­ples. It snows. She growls at a hunky guy in a jumper. It snows. She vis­its a strangely de­serted Rus­sian sta­tion. Hey, it’s snow­ing there too.

As events pro­ceed ac­cord­ing to es­tab­lished pro­ce­dural pro­ce­dure, you find your thoughts fre­quently re­turn­ing to those sus­pi­cious metal can­is­ters on that downed plane. If there aren’t killer lizard-things or alien hippo-peo­ple in there, then a large part of the au­di­ence is go­ing to feel very cheated.

Well, it’s only fair to re­veal that Whi­te­out has no su­per­nat­u­ral or sci-fi el­e­ments to it what­so­ever. In­deed, cli­max­ing with a fight in a snow­storm that is al­most im­pos­si­ble to fol­low, the film has noth­ing, bar its un­usual set­ting, to dis­tin­guish it from an episode of a very or­di­nary crime show.

It’s Tag­gart on Ice. It’s CSI: South Pole. It’s Antarc­tica, She Wrote. It is, in other words, not worth leav­ing the house to see. ANY FILM THAT can put a shot­gun in the hands of an an­gry Car­rie Fisher and fail to gen­er­ate any sig­nif­i­cant camp en­ergy re­ally does not be­long in cin­e­mas. Soror­ity Row (the ti­tle de­scribes an ad­dress, not an ar­gu­ment) turns out to be stranded in quite a few un­ap­peal­ing lim­bos.

Beginning with a rea­son­ably im­pres­sive quasi-ac­ci­den­tal calamity – it’s the best thing in the film, so we’ll say no more – this col­lege-girls-in-peril hor­ror flick is not quite post-fem­i­nist snark and not quite full-on boobs-out ex­ploita­tion. It won’t work with iro­nists and it cer­tainly won’t work with un­com­pli­cated gore­hounds. You won­der why they both­ered.

Fol­low­ing that open­ing mis­for­tune, the girls in a snooty soror­ity house take a deep breath and try to think only of the fu­ture. Un­hap­pily for all con­cerned, some kind of ma­niac in a hood has de­cided to chop them up be­fore they en­counter the real world.

The action se­quences are in­co­her­ent, there is no no­tice­able ra­tioning of ten­sion and the mon­ster’s USP is bor­ing be­yond be­lief. It looks as if the mak­ers of Soror­ity Row hope that a killer wield­ing a mod­i­fied car-jack­spikes and such might gen­er­ate the next blood-drenched fran­chise. Good luck with that, chaps.

Ice queen: Kate is one cold cop

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