Mountain Fever Movie Review
Written by Daniel Evans
Written and directed by Hendrik Faller
2017, 92 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest world premiere August 26th, 2017
Tom Miller as Jacques
Anya Korzun as Kara
Sometimes it may be easier to traverse the apocalypse alone. The world is in the midst of a killer flu epidemic (even the president is ill) and poor Jacques (Tom Miller) seeks retreat in his parents’ house in a mountain town in the middle of the Alps. The town though, is seemingly deserted, it’s a washed out grey landscape thick with snow and shrouded in ethereal mist. Naturally his parents’ picturesque house in this static village is also void of inhabitants (apart from an earlier encounter with a local, warning him of the dangers, who Jacques, thanks to the language barrier being far too thick, brushes away) and poor Jacques must try to survive there, for a time, alone.
Light in this film is used very sparingly, darkness is spread weightily everywhere, and punctuated only sometimes by the faint glow from a window or a crackling fire. The atmosphere created is morose and deeply threatening throughout, but it’s never overly terrifying, as the incompetent Jacques encounters gun toting Kara (Anya Korzun), initially deemed as a threat (possibly as a result of the pistol she waves around and the commandeering of his worldly possessions) he soon realises that a much more dangerous force is invading the house.
The sheer desolation in Mountain Fever is hard to overcome and sometimes the gloominess envelopes the action so severely we struggle to actually see what is going on. Obviously this not being a special effects laden ‘end of the world as we know it’ bonanza, the details of the epidemic and its devastation are somewhat vague, but we certainly get a feeling of the isolation and the crumbling world around them. And while, even though there are more widespread troubles on the outside, what’s happening on the inside can be equally as dangerous, safety indoors is not always the case. Thankfully the action moves from the all-encompassing darkness of the house to the equally bleak, but far more lucent mountain slopes in its climax. It’s there that the survival instincts of the characters come to the fold, when the inexperienced in all things mountainous, Jacques, follows Kara up the mountain to find out if their fate really is sealed in those Alpine hills.
The action is tight and the suspense as it builds is well handled, if a little slow to warm up for some tastes. The frigid snowbound mountains are a character in themselves, as we get deeper and deeper into the characters’ unfortunate situation, however insignificant it may seem against a backdrop of plague, catastrophe and devastation.