Frostbite Is a Disappointing Vampire Film With One Great Scene

Frostbite is a movie that pretty much came out of nowhere for me. I had never heard of it, and then one day I got an email offering me a review screener for the film and saying it was available to rent or buy as well. I’ve since learned that the movie is actually from 2006, but it was only recently released here in the states. I’m a huge fan of vampires, so I figured I’d give this movie a shot, and after watching my screener, I’m sad to say that it did not live up to my expectations.

Frostbite was directed by Anders Banke, and it stars Petra Nielsen, Grete Havnesköld, Jonas Karlström, and Emma Åberg. It’s set in a town in northern Sweden that experiences a period of total darkness every year (a la 30 Days of Night), and one day, an intern steals some mysterious pills from the hospital where he works. At first, they seem pretty harmless, but after a few people take them, they unleash a vampire attack on the unsuspecting town.

Frostbite starts out with a bunch of German soldiers during World War II discovering and being attacked by a mysterious creature, and this opening is pretty good. Granted, it’s only 10 minutes, so it can’t do too much, but it has enough cool vampire action that I had a good time with it. It got me on board almost immediately, so when the film jumped ahead several decades to its main story, I expected more of the same.

But unfortunately, I was wrong. For the next 25 minutes or so, the story takes its time introducing us to the characters and the setting, and there’s almost no horror. It has a couple of brief vampire moments here and there, but they’re very few and far between. The first act is all about the characters, and while I’m a fan of slow-burn horror, this part of the movie didn’t work for me at all.

A man talking

I just couldn’t get on board with these characters. They were all either bland and generic or weird and annoying, and some of the dialogue sounded a bit unnatural as well. To be fair, Frostbite is in Swedish, so this could’ve just been a translation issue. I don’t know what the actual dialogue says, but some of the lines in the English subtitles just don’t feel like normal human conversation. Those issues really killed the movie for me, so by the time the story got going, I had already checked out emotionally.

Then, at about the 35-minute mark, something really bizarre happens. I’m not going to spoil it (although, to be honest, it wouldn’t be a huge spoiler anyway), but I will say that it involves the mysterious pills, and I found it absolutely ridiculous. In fact, I had such an issue with it that I couldn’t take the pills seriously after that, and since they play an important role in the plot, it just turned me off of this film even more.

From there, the vampire horror slowly begins to kick into gear, and this is hands down the best thing about Frostbite. For starters, the movie puts a bunch of novel twists on the traditional vampire lore we all know and love, and while not all of those twists worked for me, I totally commend the filmmakers here for trying something new. The malleability of vampire mythology is one of my favorite things about these monsters, so I always appreciate it when storytellers put their own unique spin on them.

On top of that, the last 15 or 20 minutes have some cool vampire action, and there’s even a moment that I really loved. At one point in the film, one of the characters is in a room with the door closed, and you can hear vampire mayhem going on outside. You don’t see any of it, but that actually makes the scene more effective.

A girl walking through vampire carnage

As all longtime horror fans know, what you don’t see is often scarier than what you do see, and this scene is a great example of that. It has the same kind of feel as the pool scene in Let the Right One In, and if you’ve seen that film, you know this is very high praise.

Then, when the person leaves the room, the aftermath of the attack is a thing of horrific beauty. It’s bloody and gory, and it once again shows that what you don’t see can be more effective than what you do see. Even though we know the carnage was caused by a vampire, the fact that we didn’t see it makes us wonder how exactly it all happened, and that gives these bloodsuckers an air of mystery that’s way scarier than anything the film could’ve shown us on screen.

But even with that great scene, the third act of Frostbite isn’t nearly good enough to outweigh the poor characters and the ridiculous stuff with the pills. It’s just too little too late, so even though the movie ended on a good note, I’m still sad to say that I wouldn’t recommend it. At best, if you’re a huge vampire fanatic and you’re fine with wading through a mediocre film just to get to a few good scenes at the end, then maybe this might be worth a watch for you, but for everyone else, I’d suggest that you give it a pass and check out something else.

Frostbite is currently available on DVD and VOD in the USA, the UK, Ireland, and Canada.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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