Apparently, the title of this film was chosen as people kept on mistaking the original 1997 film by writer/director Michael Cooney for the 1998 Michael Keaton film also called Jack Frost. That was a touching romantic comedy, the one we’re interested in is a nonsense story about a killer snowman. Then again, both of the snowmen on the covers look sinister and I haven’t seen either of them so maybe they are as interchangeable as Hallmark movies.
Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the original before watching this: the whole story gets covered in the first five minutes. Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) was a serial killer who got turned into a sentient snowman and went on a rampage on Christmas Eve, and then Sheriff Tiler (Christopher Allport) killed him with super concentrated anti-freeze. This sequence also sets the tone and comedic level, which is childish and ridiculous.
Obviously, Jack isn’t dead for long as his puddle-of-water remains get resurrected during the credits in a manner that can only be described as “entertainingly convoluted”. As it’s a sequel he’s even more powerful as he’s now sentient water, and he’s able to track down Sheriff Tiler to his island holiday somewhere in the Caribbean. There are loads of people there, escaping the seasonal chills, so we get to see them wearing swimwear and then dying in winter-themed manners.
The bulk of this is handled in the “if Tom & Jerry did this you’d say it’s charming” manner as best befalls a horror-comedy. Deaths are either snowman themed, ironic in a general “hah, people are awful!” manner, or snowman themed and ironic. Every character spends just enough time to establish why you want them dead and to hint at the most amusing way they could get perished, and as the titular killer is able to freeze/unfreeze at will and generally control the weather there are a lot of examples of ice going in places it really shouldn’t. So, yes: it’s a slasher. But also a flattener, a defenestratior, a drowner, and a blender. Because what we really want is a variety of unlikely deaths.
Now, the slasher genre has a complicated relationship with misogyny (Carol J. Clover’s incredible “Men, Women, and Chain Saws” covers the nuances of the topic way better than I ever could) so I don’t want to automatically point fingers. However, when the only straight horror sequence in the piece involves a woman deciding to go skinny dipping which results in the most tortuous death in the movie, with a very lingering male gaze, I’m willing to point it out. Especially as it feels so incredibly out of place and breaks the tone of the whole thing. Quite why that bit was put in there I don’t know, and whilst it isn’t a deal breaker, I would happily watch a version with that taken out.
Other than that, it’s all fun and games. The cast and crew clearly had a lot of fun (or are very good at masking), the plot has enough twists to keep things interesting without bogging us down with actual human emotions, and there is a laugh every couple of minutes. It has no pretensions about being anything other than silly, and it’s a Treasure for what it achieves. There are even some cute little snowballs that run around and brutally kill people whilst making high-pitched squeaks, and that always makes a film better.