Everwinter Night (2023) Review
A snowy night in New England is a fitting place to start a film called Everwinter Night. And on this night Sugarbear (Topher Hansson, Las Vegas Frankenstein, Teddy Told Me To) and Buttercup (Claire Elizabeth Davies, Piggie, Quiet Desperation) get lost and stop at the wrong place for directions and end up dragged off by something lurking in the shadows.
Thirty years later, V (Victoria Mirrer, Ice Patrol, Carolina Shag) and Maddy (McKenna Parsons, Lamia, The Race Car Driver) are planning a winter vacation. What Maddy hasn’t mentioned is her friends Fiona (Nicolette Sweeney, Skyman, American Meltdown) and Becca (Alana Phillips, Destiny, Old Man Jackson) are coming as well, and they’ve totally rewritten the plans so instead of a quiet getaway it’s a party at a ski lodge with a bunch of “hot, rich guys” who are willing to pay for their rooms and drinks. Despite her obvious displeasure, V agrees to go along.
What was that saying? Something about if it sounds too good to be true…
Once they get to the ski lodge, it’s very hard not to further sympathize with V as pretty much everyone there is obnoxious if not a full scale asshole. Director Adam Newman (Scarlet Cay, Nomad) and co-writer Adam Newman (On the 7th Date, Truth Cocktail) have filled Everwinter Night with some of the most annoying characters I’ve seen in a long time. From the interchangeable frat bros to the drunken Charles (Sean T. Ward, I Fell Pretty, Wish for Christmas) and his shrewish wife Cailyn (Sarah Nicklin, The Retaliators, The Basement) you’ll be wanting them to die ASAP.
IMDB lists Everwinter Night as both horror and comedy, and I think this is supposed to be the funny part, because it certainly isn’t scary. Unfortunately, it isn’t actually funny either. There are a few chuckles to be had from the interplay between V and Jack (Jamie Dufault, Frankenstein in a Women’s Prison, Flesh for the Inferno) whose family owns the lodge, but that’s it.
Most of the time is devoted to Erik (Chris Goodin) who is running the event and talks like he’s from another century. He also seems to have plans for both Maddy and Jack. Being a horror film, that is vaguely ominous, but not much more. Everwinter Night runs an hour and forty-five minutes, and taking at least fifteen out of the midsection would have helped both its pacing and over all enjoyability greatly.
Finally, as the film closes in on the hour mark, the Kabbalah gets mentioned and something overtly sinister happens. One of the guests proposes to another. When his wife understandably objects, she’s dragged off to some unknown fate. And while it soon become obvious that some kind of supernatural shenanigans are going on, it’s not until the arrival of The Summoner, also known as Gail (Alisha Espinosa, Silver Alert, Extra Room), that the plot starts getting down to business.
By the time we’re finally told what we’ve already guessed, most viewers won’t care and more than a few will probably have turned it off. Newman and Goodin do manage to put some energy, excitement and practical gore into the film’s final minutes, but that’s too little and way too late. Not even a demon and multiple disembowelments can save it by that point.
I really wanted to like Everwinter Night, it’s indie horror, and it was filmed around the part of New England where I grew up, the traffic in Worcester even gets a mention.But there’s way too much time spent watching a bunch of poorly developed characters act like assholes and way too little of anything that remotely resembles horror. This would have made a great short, or even one of those features that just makes the hour mark.
But as it stands, there is way too much irrelevant and uninteresting chatter between the leads’ arrival at the lodge and the final payoff. The cultists may want to live forever, but after watching Everwinter Night, you’ll feel as though you actually have.