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