Below Zero


Furlong is Fun Again in This Interesting Take on a Familiar Story

Main Cast: Edward Furling and Michael Berryman

Director: Justin Thomas Ostensen

Edward Furlong’s main character Jack (referred to by his agent as Jack the Hack) has five days to finish and turn in a completed movie script, or he loses his representation. In order to be able to focus, he flies from LA to Canada where a woman, Penny, agrees to lock Jack in her meat locker for five days so he can work on his script. The end result is a movie I enjoyed more than I thought I would in 2011’s Below Zero.

Below Zero was really two movies in one as, the further along Jack gets into his script, we begin to see it play out before our eyes, as well as Jack’s own plight locked inside the meat locker while a mysterious figure outside torments him over the course of the few days he’s stuck inside.

Along the way we get a fun performance by Michael Berryman (Weird Science) as Gunnar, the butcher serial killer Jack has created, plus Paige (Kristin Booth, “Paradise Falls”), the social worker Jack’s character Frank finds locked inside a meat locker. She looks an awful lot like Penny, the woman who owns the building where Jack is currently writing his movie.

Together they try to survive the cold and get free while in the real world, Jack gets a visitor inside the locker as well, one who implies something really dark and twisted is going on outside.

It actually all sounds a lot more complicated than it is, but when you’re watching Below Zero, it all makes perfect sense.

Furlong did a great job here of making me forget The Crow: Wicked Prayer, and instead made me remember what it was that made me love his work in Terminator 2 all those years ago.

Another plus, for me, and one of the biggest of the entire movie, were the details. Jack’s struggle just to get started on his script, then watching his false starts and stops, hit so close to home with me, I momentarily lost sense of what the movie was supposed to be about and instead just enjoyed watching a writer go about his process.

Writer Signe Olynyk reportedly locked herself in a locker while working on this script and maybe that had something to do with how well her script succeeds, or maybe she’s just a really good writer. Either way, nice work!

But a LOT of credit here has to go to director Justin Thomas Ostensen for making those transitions between the real and the written world so interesting and fun to watch. As with Olynyk, great job.

Overall I liked this movie way more than I had any right to. But, admittedly, my expectations weren’t that high to begin with. It’s not a flawless movie, but it does what it sets out to do very well. And then there’s the ending. I promise there’s NO way you’ll see THAT coming. For me, Below Zero is a movie I could easily see watching again, and enjoying just as much the second time around, if not more. Good work by all involved.

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