FILM REVIEW: MOUNTAIN FEVER
Have you checked out Stephen King’s THE STAND? Just omit the “Devil” Randall Flagg, “Angel” Mother Abigail Freemantle, the massive journey to salvation and all the supernatural effects. Set it in the frigid mountains of the UK, and you have MOUNTAIN FEVER.
Ok – just imagine some desperate survivors of a fatal flu-like epidemic in the cold. THAT is a better analogy! THE STAND was much more fierce, detailed and obliterating to mankind.
MOUNTAIN FEVER is a slow burn. It never quite gets to the climactic moment, but some angst is felt via the icy snow and freezing temps. Jack is an Englishman on his way home to see his parents during a wintery season. Upon entrance to the family home (a roomy, 3 story “building-like” house), Jack immediately finds the power is out, and a note from his parents on the kitchen counter. After a quick look of despair, he sets out to secure the house, chopping wood and foraging the house food for himself…and his Calico cat.
At this point, we aren’t exactly privy to what’s happening. Or why. That is, until what looks to be a homeless man on the back patio appears, stealing the cat’s food. When Jack confronts him “That’s for the cat!”, the man immediately begins to hustle and bargain for more food, in place of candles and batteries. Jack complies and the deal is done.
Not too long afterwards, events begin to move forward starting with a disturbing visit from a bundled up person in a gas mask. In a frenzied attack, the intruder takes Jack hostage in his own home, seizing shelter and food. She (yes, SHE) has seen first-hand what has gripped the world in devastation: a fatal super flu.
Unbeknownst to Jack, this virus has wiped out countless communities, towns and areas across the globe in a non-discriminatory way. His ignorance starts to show as he tries to fight his way against the fighting newcomer, Kara and reclaim his house.
But, Kara isn’t alone and soon…others follow. In a brief dramatic moment, her pursuers bust in violently, sending Jack to bond with his female captor and fight for survival.
MOUNTAIN FEVER is a primitive mild thriller that should impose extreme emotions to the senses. The only empathetic (or pathetic?) character is Jack – with his collegiate innocence bordering on obliviousness. He finally manages to dig down and find some strength, once pushed against the wall. Literally. But I still cannot understand why, after the group is out of his house, he actually treks into the mountains, seeking the danger that just fled.
There is confusion as to why the intruders are French, and Jack is English. In and out of subtitles during crucial moments is aggravating and a nuisance. The fear is a bit of a yawner as well. Nothing earth shattering occurs that would bolt you up from a deep sleep. Even in the frigid cold.
For the horror hounds, enjoy the cauterization scene between Kara and Jack. You won’t vomit, but you will wince. That was my personal favorite moment, from one sicko to another.
“When human desperation becomes primal, survival is all that matters.”