The Chill Factor (1993) Blu-ray Review


Quite Cold

You can date The Chill Factor to the early ‘90s a few ways. First, the influx of neon making its presence in the dress code. Second, the grating electronic score that often syncs with music from the Super Nintendo. Then, the attraction to extreme sports, in this case high-speed snowmobiling.

All that aside, the story has the feel of independent horror of the ‘80s. A small deserted cabin offers refuge for a small group of vacationers when a friend is injured. As these things tend to go, the choice to stay ends badly for them all.

The kink is the religious twist, although most of this is suggested more than acted on. Sometime before, said cabin hosted youth Christian camps. Crucifixes line the walls, with Jesus crying blood. Later, one of the crosses begins spinning wildly, adding to atmospherics in a low budget film otherwise incapable of a scare. Creepy photos of past kids at the camp further add flavoring to a derivative genre location.

Chill Factor treats sex as a sin worthy of an icicle through the eye

Good thing Chill Factor brings the religious paraphernalia – there’s little else on offer. One of the crew is overtaken by Satan, leading various pleasures for him and not-so-pleasurable things for others. Involved in a smattering of Christian fears (including a Oujia-like board game), Chill Factor treats sex as a sin worthy of an icicle through the eye. One of the victims dares to admit their Baptist upbringing; that’s a grisly kill too.

If Chill Factor tries saying anything though, it’s hampered by grueling pace and the “keep it on fast forward” finale with a nice stunt or two situated between snowmobile footage of limited excitement. That’s not capitalizing on the suggestiveness earlier, short of the possessed donning a robe and fake nails for a devilish appearance against the Wisconsin snow.

Most of this takes place in the cabin, dark and messy. Exterior visuals offer potential for something unique; Chill Factor doesn’t have the gusto (or financing) for snow shooting. In that case, there’s little reason to watch either.

Video

Budget constraints limit the visual output, but consider Chill Factor’s aspirations were merely VHS and Laserdisc. The image’s inherent softness didn’t bother anyone then – Chill Factor looked like anything else.

In spite of that, a smidgen of fine detail does escape. Snowy, forested exteriors make for attractive sights. In close, small levels of facial texture stand out, if not with consistency.

The challenge for Arrow’s transfer comes when inside the cabin where true black is missed by way of the source material. That allows noise, too much so, leading to a sloppier appearance than is typical.

Out of this, the color helps Chill Factor the most. Colorful clothing helps, yet even inside, the reddish vibe given off by a fireplace keeps saturation up. It’s dim, but pleasing.

Audio

In the beginning, some obvious dubbed over dialog stands out for its clarity. Everything else washes out within this PCM mix. The sound is clearly recorded live, with a harshness indicative of a no-budget quickie.

Pure ‘90s as it is, the soundtrack does bring in the low-end. Smooth and pure bass helps cover the other aged faults.

Extras

Make-up assistant Hank Carlson joins horror writer Josh Hadley for a commentary track. In addition, they rejoin for an interview that runs 25-minutes. Bonuses take the interview route, with producer Alexandra Reed (13:02), stunt coordinator Gray Paul (11:21), and make-up artist Jeffery Lyle Segal (15:03) in the mix.

The coolest bonus is an entire workprint, running near 90-minutes, full of raw footage and extended takes. A VHS trailer and stills round out the bottom.

The Chill Factor
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

A tepid early ’90s VHS horror drop, The Chill Factor tries to bring some religious connection to its story but that’s thrown away by the end.

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