SYNOPSIS: Recently divorced and laid off from his job, Elliot Baker (Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad; Run All Night) is desperate to spend more time bonding with his sons, Bradley (Tom Holland, Captain America: Civil War) and Caleb (Percy Hynes White, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb). What starts as family day trip to teach his boys how to shoot turns into a nightmare when they become stranded. As they retreat to a desolate cabin, Elliot’s mounting fear of losing custody pushes him to the edge. The brothers quickly realize that the man responsible for keeping them safe has now become their biggest threat.
Joel Kinnaman (Robocop, Suicide Squad) turned in a rousing performance as a father who is on the brink of insanity in this otherwise tepid survival cum psychotic tale set in wintery rural Ontario. Another noticable big name in the indie production is none other than Tom Holland, star of this summer blockbuster, Spider-man: Homecoming who plays his son, Bradley.
Elliot Baker (Kinnaman) is a divorcee whose two sons are staying with him for the weekend while his ex-wife and partner are going on a cruise vacation. From the get go, we can see Elliot is a very troubled man. He has recently lost his job probably due to some scuffle with the boss and he seems to be in debt as well. The short-tempered dude suggests bringing his sons, adolescent Bradley and his younger brother, Caleb (Percy Hynes Whites) on a hunting trip presumably to toughen them up. When their Jeep got stuck in the snow, the trio decides to find shelter in a deserted cabin. However, the most dangerous thing the brothers faced is not getting lost in the icy cold wilderness but a father who is slowly turning cuckoo.
First time director and writer Rob Connolly prefers to keep things small, hoping to deliver a creepy sense of fear and loss in contrast to a huge backdrop of nothingness except snow and trees. On one hand, he succeeds in bringing out the performances of his three leads but the limits of his faltering scripting fails to execute the intended thrills and drama. For example, the fate of two strangers (one of them has Elliot on the edge by constantly speaking in French) who shared the cabin with the guys ultimately met with a predictable outcome. And most annoying of all, there’s little justification for Elliot to turn berserk all of a sudden upon learning that his sons are leaving the country with their stepdad. Jealous? Perhaps. Scared? Maybe. Fear of losing? True. To lock up the kids and murder strangers? That’s too much to stomach.
Edge of Winter attempts to sort of follow the mould and footsteps of The Shining though there’s no need for us to comment further which one is much superior. It takes a lot more to convince us why a father would terrorize his kids even though the thought of them leaving his side is too much for him to bear. The abrupt ending which involved a stalled vehicle miraculously revived left audiences with unresolved, lingering questions. On the whole, Kinnaman, Holland and Whites put in solid performances. The cinematography and harsh terrain is perfect. Everything is near flawless except the glaring underdeveloped screenplay.
White colours are generally strong though imaging tends to suffer a little during the darker scenes possibly due to inadequate lighting. Conversations and screams are weighty though frankly, there’s hardly much noticeable surround or sonic effects to take note of.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee