An icy Alaskan road becomes more treacherous for two truckers after a mining operation awakens a dormant prehistoric creature.
Oh, SyFy Saturday, how I love thee. You offer up such delicious campy fodder, following the formula of some sort of
creature trying to eat some group of human, if not threaten the entire planet. Your clichés, your CGI critters, your WTH? action scenes. What’s not to love?
This story involves two truckers hauling explosives to a mine site. Along for the ride is a girl environmental scientist-type. In the opening scene, the creature tears into the miners when it’s first awakened. Later, it goes after the trucks/truckers/girl, following them to a home belonging to friends of the truckers.
Movies set in my state are usually rife with errors. Like the one about killer ants, where there was a road sign stating it was so many miles to Nome and 200+ to Fairbanks. There is a road from Nome to Teller, to the north, that is about 70 miles long. But you can’t get to Fairbanks from either town via road. There is no road to Fairbanks from that area.
Back to the most recent offerings, Ice Road Terror. Now, I haven’t watched the History Channel series, Ice Road Trucker, and after a little research about ice roads, I was more or less satisfied on that score. With the following exceptions: (1) While ice roads are along waterways such as bays and rivers, having one character tell another, “There’s nothing between us and the cold blue sea but soft ice” is wrong. The trucks left out of the Fairbanks area, a decidedly landlocked community. If you are traveling over an ice road that was constructed over the sea, you need to check your GPS. (2) The truck depot manager complains about sending trucks over the soft ice because it’s breakup, and it’s 34 degrees out there, and duh! ice melts at 32, so the road is dangerous! Stretching things here. Ice thick enough to hold semi trucks (1 meter) won’t be that soft at 34. Not in the short term, anyway. It’ll take a few more degrees above freezing for an ice road to experience the selective slushiness shown. And yes, selective. The road was only slushy when it needed to be for dramatic purposes.
Okay, on to the typical clichés of a SyFy movie. I counted several, including the Evil Mining Dude who hates all things environmentalist (he admits other faults later and is promptly eaten). Another cliché, the old Native guy who relays that the creature is from a legend. He promptly gets eaten too. Also: sad hero, heroine running away from other life (to AK, where you can “learn to survive alone but sometimes forget you need others” *gag*), the “You have to stay strong for your daughter” speech (oy), and the crotchety older couple who are fonts of wisdom (who, btw, own only one .22 rifle yet have a flamethrower at hand.).
The creature is depicted as a lizard-like thing, and the CGI isn’t horrible. The beast conveniently doesn’t attack while the people are taking a break at night. Nor does it try to actually get into the house until the heroes decide it would be a good idea to lure it into the house and escape via the second floor (because creature is too big to turn around and leave once it gets inside).
The action scene that really had me scratching my head was when the truckers and the girl scientist first arrive at the mine site. They run in front of the creature from behind a large piece of machinery to take cover behind a bunch of wooden pallets. Yeah. Why is that a better option?
From the above, you’d think I didn’t like this movie, but for what it was, what I expected out of it, it was enjoyable. I’ve seen better (Splinter) and worse (too many to name). But every Saturday you can find me checking the listings to fulfill my SyFy movie needs. Do you watch SyFy movies? Tell me your favorites.
Cathy’s Carina Press debut Rulebreaker will be released Aug. 8, 2011.