This SyFy Channel effort annoyed the heck out of me, and not just for the normal reasons. It’s “Alive” with a yeti in it, which is a cool idea actually, but that’s not the annoying part. It’s based on two things which 100% wouldn’t happen in real life, and aren’t given any good reason for happening in the world of this movie.
Firstly, the pathetic way they’re rescued. Imagine the news story today. “College football team’s plane goes down in Himalayas”. Imagine, below that headline, “the search party is going to be two people, four days hike away, and we’re not going to even try and find them before that”. I would bet my bottom dollar that one of the dozens of US military bases within a couple of hours flight of that crash site would be there to pick them up within a day. One of them has a rich Dad, and everything!
Secondly, and I’ve put this second because it might sort of be a nit-pick, the reason for the rescue outpost not sending a helicopter. “Air’s too thin, it can’t fly up here”. The place where the plane crashes is covered in trees as well as snow, and in case you were wondering, the “tree line” altitude above which they don’t grow is about 10,000 feet. Well, helicopters recently airlifted people out of basecamp at Everest, which is at 18,000 feet, and one guy even made it to the top of Everest in one, which is 29,035 feet. Boo, movie!
Okay, that last one might have been a bit much, but if you mess up that sort of thing so even a dummy like me can notice the problem, I’m going to trust you less on the other stuff. Turns out I needn’t have worried, as the other stuff is rubbish too. I’ve already pretty much described the plot, which is a bunch of college athletes going to a Bowl game in Japan, and taking the “all the way across the Atlantic, Europe and Asia” route, rather than just hopping over the Pacific; they crash in the Himalayas, and encounter the Yeti, who’s been living there and dining on the locals for a long time. The two groups don’t meet each other for some time, though, because the people have to get desperate enough to want to munch on human flesh.
Now, this could be part 3 of my “there’s no way!” expression of annoyance. Think of every plane you’ve ever been on. What’s the one thing they have lots of? Food. Plenty of drink too, but they never mention being short of that. You’re plied with food from the minute you get on a plane, but these people not only have absolutely nothing (5 energy bars between 8 of them), but they’re such awful people they only wait (at the absolute outside) 3 days before frying up and eating their dead classmates. The people in “Alive” resorted to chewing on leather and trying to find straw inside the seats before cannibalism, and lasted 8 days with less food and less shelter than this group of scumbags, plus they had no means of making fire and no fuel.
The Yeti, when we meet him, has (for some reason) developed the ability to leap through the air like the Incredible Hulk. I guess being a large, strong, fur-covered beast isn’t enough nowadays? And he’s there from the beginning too, no hiding this creature in the shadows because they must be proud of the effect, or something. He certainly looks a lot better than the one from “Abominable”, which is the definition of damning with faint praise, but still.
The casting is…sort of okay. Carly Pope is, I guess, a cheerleader? I’ve completely blanked on why she was on that plane. She’s great, though, I’ve liked her since her days on “Popular”, and she’s still in cool things now. Marc Menard as football star Peyton Elway is blandly dependable, and there’s a couple of smaller roles for TV legends Ed Marinaro and Peter DeLuise. The rest of the cast are, honestly, just dumb cannon fodder except for one brilliant role, the guy who goes off to find the plane and keeps surviving the most unlikely situations, including using his friend’s severed arm as a splint for his own injured leg, all the way to a brilliant post-credits coda. He feels like he was beamed in from a movie with a slightly better sense of humour; but that’s not the worst of it, and this next one is another “maybe this just bothers me” moment. Menard was 32 and Pope 28 when this was filmed, and they’re both supposed to be college students (early 20s at the latest?). Neither of them look like college students either, so it’s just visually irritating.
Factor in one of the all-time least appropriate “haha all our friends are dead” moments ever (when Pope and Menard fall down in the snow to laugh and kiss when the Yeti ceases to be a problem and rescue is there), as the pair doing it are literally surrounded by the corpses of their friends, some of whom THEY ATE, and you’ve got a SyFy movie.
It feels way more shambolic in its execution than average – director Paul Ziller and writer Rafael Jordan really ought to know better, as they’re old hands. I repeat this a lot, but if you can’t have great locations, top actors and brilliant special effects, you can control the script and the editing. Don’t have your leads laugh and get horny when everyone they know is dead. Don’t have a “30 years earlier” prologue when it has absolutely zero link to the rest of the movie. Spend ten minutes thinking about the logic of your movie, and if it’s got holes, try changing it.
Rating: thumbs down