A young woman has a fatal car accident, and is discovered by a simple-minded mountain hermit. He takes her lifeless body back to his cabin. There he nurtures her as if she were alive... and in his mind she is.
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De Anna Joy Brooks
Eight unsuspecting high school seniors at a posh boarding school, who delight themselves on playing games of lies, come face-to-face with terror and learn that nobody believes a liar - even when they're telling the truth.
A backwoods recluse steals the body of a young girl killed in a violent car crash, locking her in the freezer of his isolated shed as her sister, Cathy, and boyfriend, Deric, search frantically for an clues to her whereabouts. When Cathy and Deric show up looking for the missing traveler, Clive takes them both hostage in a sinister bid to hide his ghoulish secret.
Have you ever seen Weekend at Bernie's? How about Deliverance? Maybe even Wrong Turn? Tony Elwood's Cold Storage is mishmash of all of these films—a "movie medley," of sorts. One would think that, given the sheer entertainment value possible when movies such as these are combined (shlock though they are), the final product would be nothing short of a delightful little tale of mountainside gore and inbred shenanigans. That, however, is not the case.
Cold Storage is about an aspiring actress named Melissa who leaves her Charlotte area residence (woot!) to take on a gig in a rural (and I mean rural) Tennessee mountain town. On the way there, a bird crashes into her windshield and she somehow manages to fly out of her car and land on her head. Never mind the fact that the whole plot hinges on stray fowl: how did her car door open (without the automobile flipping over) and how did she manage to hit the blacktop in a "jackhammer" position? I know it's supposed to be over-the-top, but defying the laws of physics is an entirely different matter.
So, here's our starry-eyed actress, lying prostrate and paralyzed in the middle of a Tennessee back road. The next person to come along, of course, is a fella named Clive. He's a local who has delusions of courting a long-departed nurse who was kind to him in his youth. He scoops up Melissa and carries her home, and eventually his fractured mind assigns her the identity of the aforementioned love of his life. The problem with all this is that Melissa soon dies due to her injuries, and Clive seems to take no notice. He even parades her rotting corpse around town in his rusted out clunker.
This does make for some humorous moments, but the extreme nature of some of the funnier bits—such as when Clive "brushes his teeth" with a straight razor and pops a tick the size of a quarter with his bare hands —are oddly counterbalanced by what were supposed to have been moments of poignant reflection on the part of our anti-hero. These moments are so strangely juxtaposed that it makes the movie feel as if it's constantly teetering on the edge of oblivion. It just can't seem to make a clear statement about what sort of story it'd like to be, and viewers are left wondering if it's okay to laugh at scenes that could be taken as comical or pseudo-serious.
To add to the woes, the whole production is hampered by atrocious acting from the very beginning. Even though this is a goofy horror/thriller at heart, the characters still need to be at least moderately believable—as is the case with any piece of effective storytelling—to elicit some degree of concern from viewers. With Cold Storage, we're given something akin to a late night round of charades that's punctuated by badly delivered (and badly written) dialogue. At times, wincingly so.
There's also the stock characters of the incompetent Sheriff and the wizened local, both of whom are—strangely enough—friends (and both of whom advise Melissa's sister and ex-boyfriend to take different courses of action to try and locate said missing person).
Even though it's got a few humorous moments, Cold Storage is a mess. If you're looking for goofy laughs and horror films of the hillbilly variety, check out Wrong Turn. At least then you'll know that it's all very much tongue-in-cheek.
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