The Chill Factor (1993) – Film Review
Director: Christopher Webster
Cast: Dawn Laurrie, Aaron Kjenaas, Connie Snyder
by Sarah Morgan
It’s been described as a cross between The Exorcist and the Winter Olympics – if only The Chill Factor was that good!
I’m no stranger to low-budget horror movies; in fact a large percentage of the movies I watch are from that very genre. Having little money to spend can actually bring out the best in film-makers. Rather than relying on hi-tech special effects and splashing the cash on stars, they are forced to be more inventive.
Three couples head out into the wilderness for a snowmobile trip. Tom and Jeannie are planning to get married, Tom’s sister Karen is dating medical student Chris, while Ron and Lissa are basically just looking for fun.
After a contretemps with some locals in a bar, they head off to Black Friar Lake, a frozen space perfect for a race. However, it ends in disaster – Tom is seriously injured and, with the weather taking a turn for the worse, the friends find shelter in an abandoned summer camp.
What nobody realises is that the place is haunted by evil spirits, and some shenanigans involving a ouija board wakes them up – before long they’re wreaking havoc, possessing Tom, who as a result makes a miraculous recovery, and sets out to bump off the pals one by one.
As a premise there’s nothing wrong with it, but the performances by the cast – none of whom seem to have had great careers either before or after the film’s release – are rather inept. Director Christopher Webster, who actually had a good pedigree in the horror genre, having produced Hellraiser and Hellraiser II: Hellbound, clearly couldn’t tease convincing portrayals from them.
Having said that, there is a high point – the action scenes are well made thanks to some of the world’s best snowmobile riders and stunt coordinator Gary Paul, who appears in the special features talking about his work on the movie.
It’s just one of a wealth of mini-documentaries and commentaries on the disc – in fact, there are far more on it than such a lacklustre movie deserves.
Beyond its initial VHS release, The Chill Factor, which is also known as Demon Possessed, has rarely been seen, while Webster never directed another movie. On this showing, it’s easy to imagine why in both cases.
‘The Chill Factor’ is released on Blu-ray by Arrow, £24.99