Written by: Tim Hannigen
Amongst the international smorgasbord of cinema tantalizing the Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror tastebuds at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is the Swedish film "Frostbite" (aka Frostbiten). In 1944 a group of Scandinavian soldiers from an SS panzer division are separated from their unit. Surrounded by allied forces, they take refuge in an abandoned cabin in the woods. As darkness falls, some of the men fall prey to something far worse than enemy soldiers – vampires who have taken up residence in the house. After killing an adult vampire, they find the coffin of a child in the basement, and the child is trying to get out.
After an intense opening, the film fast forwards to present day. A young girl, Saga, and her mother, Annika, have moved to a small town in northern Sweden which, in the midst of winter, is dark 24 hours a day. Annika has accepted a position with the local hospital working with a famed genetic researcher, Professor Beckert. Saga begins making friends with the local teens who, living in the far north, have nothing to do but indulge in – you guessed it – sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Meanwhile, strange things are afoot at the hospital as Dr. Beckert, doing his best evil doctor impression, is giving mysterious red pills to a comatose patient.
The teens have a connection with Sebastian, a young man working at the hospital, who hooks them up with drugs from the dispensary. When Sebastian takes one of the mysterious red pills he finds some strange side-effects – dogs begin to speak to him, crosses bother him, a garlic flavored meal begins to burn his insides, and a little rabbit begins to look appetizing. Oh yeah – and he notices a couple of sharp teeth protruding from his mouth. When local teens steal a box of the red pills to pop, mass vampirism explodes at a local house party, and all hell breaks loose. Not to worry though – "dawn is only thirty days away".
Did I mention that Frostbite is a comedy? After the serious tone of the opening, the movie dives head first into full-on hilarity. The movie is very funny. With tongue placed firmly in cheek, the movie has fun with the vampire mythos. Sebastian’s transformation from slacker hospital worker to bunny-chewing vampire is awesome! And forget stakes to the heart – this movie has one of the greatest vampire gnome killings in cinematic history (actually – I’m pretty sure it’s the only vampire dispatching via gnome in cinematic history). There are also some very good effects. Some effective vampire transformations, a few dozen appendages, buckets of blood and – did I mention the gnome?
As for the plot – it really doesn’t matter. Evil doctor, genetic vampirism yadda, yadda, yadda… If you are looking for strong plot and well developed characters you may want to skip this one. If, on the other hand, you like talking dogs and gnome impalings – this is the movie for you! Watch Frostbite for laughs, rather than screams, and you won’t be disappointed.