’Jack Frost’ Review: Dir. Michael Cooney [Alternative Christmas]

Christmas is a time for fun frolics in the snow, and in terms of festive frights, you can’t get much sillier than Jack Frost. Not to be confused with the tear-jerker family film starring Michael Keaton, this version of Jack Frost recounts the decimation of a small American town by a killer snowman. Taking a page from the Charles Lee Ray playbook, the killer snowman is the result of a freak accident involving snow, antifreeze, and a notorious serial killer. 

Set in the fictitious town of Snowmonton, Jack Frost joins the newly resurrected killer as he stalks the police officer who was responsible for his incarceration. In human form Jack was a vicious murderer, one who racked up almost forty bodies across eleven states before being captured. The viewer doesn’t get to see these kills, but the information is told to us, and judging by the insanity of his murders in snowman form, they must have been pretty brutal. Director Michael Cooney let’s the freak flag fly as the deaths on screen get weirder and wilder. Whilst most of them are stupidly silly, there is a strong vein of malice to them. This is most evident in the death of Jill (the first role for American Pie’s Shannon Elizabeth). Interestingly, the murder was originally only meant as another brutal beating, but during the editing process the decision was made to add in lines of dialogue that leaves the scene to be interpreted as including a sexual assault too. It’s a bad taste decision, and one that taints the relatively fun nature of the rest of the piece. 

Outside of this ill-thought through choice, Jack Frost ventures further down the Child’s Play route with Frost taunting his victims much like Chucky does. This is the right direction for the film, Jack Frost showing fellow alternative Christmas movie Santa’s Slay how to make an entertaining wisecracking killer instead of a grunting brute. The character proved to be so enjoyable that he got a second, caribbean-set outing, and whilst many on the cult film circuit hoped that there would be a third, plans were shelved after the passing of Christoper Allport who played Sheriff Sam. In fact, London born director Cooney hasn’t directed anything since 2009, although they did continue to write until 2016, but after that it would seem from the imdb credits that they left the industry behind in favour of other work. It’s a shame, as in addition to this Christmas chucklefest, Cooney penned both The I Inside and Identity, and seeing something more serious in tone would have been an intriguing viewing prospect. Instead though, we are left with Jack Frost, a quirky killfest that embraces its silly nature and low-budget to create a film made for alcohol-fuelled watch parties with friends. 

A movie to be taken with a pinch of salt, Jack Frost is bargain basement genre fodder at its cheesiest and most appealing. Unfortunately though, Jack Frost falls short at ascending to true cult greatness thanks to some unappealing editing directions that drive it into bad taste territory.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Jack Frost is available to rent on Apple TV now.