Snow Falls (2023) Review
Snow Falls opens with a warning sign, a pair of ravens sitting on the sign welcoming the characters to the town of Snow Falls. A bigger warning sign for the viewer however should be the squabbling going on inside their vehicle. Complaints about someone studying, somebody sitting with their feet on the dash, or someone else not wearing a seat belt. The kind of pointless bitching that makes you wonder why these people hang out together.
But the five of them, Kit (Colton Tran, Nocturne, Raising Kayn), Em (Victoria Moroles, Blood Relatives, Down a Dark Hall), Eden (Anna Grace Barlow, Witch Hunt, Scream Queens), Andy (James Gaisford, Mythica: The Iron Crown, Shadows of the Dead) and River (Johnny Berchtold, Dog Gone, A Hard Problem) are on their way to spend New Year’s Eve at a massive “cabin” owned by River’s family. “This is your second home?” “Third if you count the one we’re building on Martha’s Vinyard”.
Apart from playing Kit, Colton Tran directed Snow Falls from a script by Luke Genton (The Bone Box, Don’t Look Back) and they waste no time in unpacking all the usual cliches. Eden is getting over the death of her mother and being dumped by her boyfriend, River is obsessed with her but can’t work up the courage to make a move, or is too busy indulging in conspiracy theories. Andy is obsessed with his Instagram followers, “Only half of them are bought” and his girlfriend Em is a hypochondriac. Kit is just sort of there and occasionally tells lame jokes. It’s the usual kind of superficial details that pass for character development in films like this.
The one slight difference here is that the phone reception is “spotty” instead of non-existent so the group can get calls when the plot requires it. One from River’s father (Patrick Fabian, The Last Exorcism, Better Call Saul) and they hear from their friend Jace (Jonathan Bennett, Mean Girls, The Haunting of Sharon Tate) who warns them about a snowstorm headed their way.
And that storm, a bomb cyclone with blizzard conditions no less, hits just after the stroke of midnight and quickly takes out the power and makes the roads impassable. They’re trapped in the cabin with limited firewood and more booze than food. Now if I had written Snow Falls this would be the part where a hungry Sasquatch comes out of the woods. But I didn’t write it so instead it first turns into a weak survival film, Then River advances the theory that they’re acting odd and seeing things, not due to the cold and lack of food and sleep but because the snow is tainted with some kind of virus.
Now if there was a virus and Snow Falls had gone full Cabin Fever at this point it might have saved the film. Instead, we get some hallucinations and people do stupid shit like go outside in minimal clothes and freeze themselves. The infamous Russian Sleep Experiment gets mentioned and everyone winds themselves up a little more and lots of stupidity follows as they begin to turn on each other and themselves.
Snow Falls has a few good scenes, the snowman using its carrot nose to break a glass door was creepy in a trippy sort of way. And the idea of a poisonous snowstorm would probably make an entertaining Sci-Fi/Asylum film. But Tran and Benton play this all too seriously and fail to deliver any real scares or tension. They needed to decide if they were making a psychological thriller or a full-on horror film and go with it instead of waffling back and forth and accomplishing nothing.