Well, let’s see you make a tale of Arctic terror on a microscopic budget!
Written and directed by Charlie Steeds (Winterskin, Death Ranch), a MetFilm grad with an abiding love of bygone horror tropes, Freeze is a Lovecrafty pastiche of Victorian Era exploration that bravely demands your attention, despite being financed by old soda bottles.
Captain Roland Mortimer (Rory Wilton) charts his warship the HMS Innsmouth (hint) to the North Pole in search of his best friend, William Streiner (Tim Cartwright), a fellow sea captain who disappeared two years before in search of a passage through the ice.
It doesn’t take long for the Innsmouth to get frozen in the ice and set upon by Deep Ones, so Mortimer and his intrepid crew of a half-dozen men abandon ship and try their luck on the frozen tundra.
The Arctic region isn’t very large, so Mortimer and company soon discover a massive cave containing a few stiffs from Streiner’s earlier voyage. After that, they discover Streiner himself, who has gone native and joined forces with the so-called “Icthyoids” in a vague scheme of world domination.
All he needs to lead his baggy suited fishmen to victory is his copy of The Necronomicon, which Mortimer thoughtfully provides.
Freeze is old, old-time entertainment that would have worked just as well as a radio play accompanied by scary sound effects and a wheezy organ. Of course, then we’d miss grotty details like Streiner biting his best friend’s fingers off, and admittedly, that’s a fun scene.
Steeds cheerfully peppers the proceedings with DIY practical effects that any Dr. Who fan would endorse, particularly the pesky Icthyoids, who resemble a Sleestack dance company when appearing en masse.
So what can we really say about Freeze? Campy enthusiasm and resourceful story telling can still save the day, if you agree to meet them halfway.