5 March 2016 | JordanMichaelKoch
Falls just short, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a shot.
I am a ten plus year super fan of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). As such, this review and my opinion of the movie each reflect that fact. As fellow fans of The Thing know, any time you see the words isolated, paranoia, snow and horror, you get a little bit excited by the potential. This movie is one of the few that lived up to the potential of its all-time great setting. Other movies, like Thaw, Blood Glacier, The Last Winter and more fall short either from atrocious acting, poor conception, poor realization of a good pitch, poor effects or poor plotting. Sometimes they fail at every such level. Black Mountain Side did not fail. The acting is uneven, even poor at times. The dialogue feels forced and subpar at times, especially in the first thirty minutes. Certainly, however, it's not bad enough to completely destroy the movie. It gets a pass there. A narrow pass, but a pass. The real treasure of the movie is in its buildup. It doesn't resort to cheap tricks and jump scares to hold your attention early on. It takes its good time presenting the story and building the tension and suspense, and it keeps patient viewers wondering, but with enough subtle hints so as not to be a snooze fest. The premise is solid, the location is solid, the pacing is solid and the allusions to Lovecraft are solid. It hits all the marks and tropes of Lovecraftian horror marred only by subpar acting and dialogue. There are no stupid character decisions, no forced plot points and no movie-ruining political statements. It's just horror. Good, cosmic, Lovecraftian horror. So put on your acting blinders (they don't even have to be too big) and enjoy this slow-burning love letter to Lovecraft and The Thing. Unfortunately, as far as the rating goes, I can't give it a 7/10 as a whole. With stronger acting and a stronger script, it would have been a 7/10, but the acting and script weren't quite up to par as the concept and story. Still, this movie is going to get neglected because of those things when it really shouldn't be. If you're in the mood for wintery cabin/isolation horror, give this one a shot.