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Simon Read [Film Festival 05.03.09] movie review thriller

Year: 2006
Directors: Tony Elwood
Writers: Tony Elwood & Mark Kimray
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 7 out of 10

Tony Elwood’s Cold Storage is a film that has been a long time in the making, written by Elwood in 1978, touched up in ’85, filmed a couple of years back and finally doing the festival circuit now, it’s very much his baby.

Kicking off with a break-up between young actress Melissa and her earnest, though simple, boyfriend Daric (Matt Keeslar), Melissa heads down South to take a part in a play. Unfortunately she hits a bird and is fatally injured in the process, attracting the attention of simple minded mountain man Clive (an astonishing turn by Nick Searcy). Clive sees that she’s still breathing and drives her back to his cabin, hoping to save her life, but she’s a goner and poor Clive just can’t seem to grasp this all important fact, suggesting to her fresh corpse that perhaps they could spend the rest of their lives together…

Elwood’s premise is fantastic and helps to establish Cold Storage as one of the funniest and most unusual recent entries into that oh-so-hit-and-miss genre of Horror Comedy. The best scenes and biggest laughs come when Clive earnestly tries to make things work between him and his beloved (whom he immediately names Rosalie), he sets up a dinner date, buys her a dress at the local thrift store and even takes her for a disastrous Sunday drive into town, all the while being a respectful and devoted gentleman.

Obviously Melissa is missed and her sister Cathy (Joelle Carter) and Daric form a reluctant alliance, load up the car and go looking for her, only to find the towns burly Sheriff Bullock (Jeffrey Pillars) to be less than helpful (he’s more interested in his breakfast, a classic scene involves his unique style of eating a fried egg) and so they take matters into their own hands.

The film is well shot with Clive’s run down and shabby old cabin contrasting well with the towns sunny and generally friendly air (the locals are more helpful than the sheriff with Terry Loughlin and Kate Leahey standing out as concerned store owners who suspect Clive’s up to something when he starts to buy disinfectant by the trunk load!). Elwood’s script and Searcy’s performance as the deranged but sympathetic Clive help us to secretly root for him as an underdog whose actions, although inexcusable to you and I, are kind of understandable given his isolation and the brief explanations of his childhood (in a particularly poignant scene he breaks out the family photo album to show ‘Rosalie’) . This is something rare to see in a horror film, comedic or otherwise, a villain who we like. Compare this to bickering yuppies Cathy and Daric, I know who I’m cheering for. Go Clive!

The film is full of humour, great one liners, subtle and not-so-subtle sight gags (Clive’s grooming methods had the whole theatre in hysterics, you can just imagine) and throughout the film Elwood has made sure that we see the heart at its core and the affection he has for all its characters. Perhaps the fact that the movie was stuck in development for so long meant that now he’s finally had the chance to make it he’s done it so well and with a caring eye for all concerned, especially the audience.

Don’t be too put off by my sentimental insights though, this film is still a bloody ride with plenty of gore and some intense scenes towards the end as Clive’s ideal life is threatened by the meddling kids and when his psychotic neighbor Luther starts sniffing about. The gore money shot is fantastic and don’t you forget that Elwood himself worked special effects on none other than Evil Dead II.

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Paul Barrett (13 years ago) Reply

Thank you for the wonderful review. SO glad you liked the film. Just one minor correction. The lady who helped out the sister and boyfriend was actually played by an actress named Rebecca Koon. (Kate Leahey played the waitress) Just wanted to let you know. Cheers.


sonaboy (13 years ago) Reply

So, Cold Storage = Weekend At Bernie's + Wrong Turn?


Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

I loved this movie. Well done. The format was great. Mr Searcy does a wonderful job. I hope this gets to the movie theaters soon. Funny, scarey and enough gore to make everyone happy.


Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

This is one of the best made independent films I've ever seen.

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