In The Last Winter, Larry Fessenden’s environmentally conscious supernatural disaster movie, a team of oil specialists are preparing for a drilling site in Alaska when nature seemingly begins to run homicidal. Fessenden imbues the natural-disaster genre with an ambiguity that neither preaches environmental awareness nor contents itself with the spectacle of nature’s special effects-ridden wrath (unlike Twister, Volcano or any of its late-90s brethren). There’s an ethereal evil akin to J-Horror, a mood that spells disaster without actually spelling it out, leaving much interpretation open to the viewer. Fessenden’s two previous films, the vampire story Habit and the wintry, mythological Wendigo, were characterized by strong naturalistic tendencies. The horrors were implicit and stunningly realistic, and the films seemed more character- than genre-studies. The Last Winter is decidedly more accessible and mainstream, but it still possesses a fierce realism and intimacy that Hollywood horror flicks often lack.
Opens September 14 at IFC Center