Rated: R for language and some violence. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: August 19, 2016 Released by: Vertical Entertainment
Set primarily in a snowy wilderness, Rob Connolly's survivalist thriller isn't the tautly credible cinematic treat in the macabre manner of The Shining which, at times, it seems to mirror.
Edge of Winter stars Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad, Easy Money), Percy Hines White, and Tom Holland (Captain America: Civil War) in a descent into madness of the former's Eliot Baker, a forlorn wastrel of a dad looking to reconnect with his sons on a hunting expedition.
The divorced dad questionably gets permission from his ex (so she can spend some time with new husband Ted) to look after White's pre-teen Caleb (White) and teen Bradley, but she isn't happy when the crestfallen wastrel plans with the boys. Caleb gets a rudimentary lesson in rifling as a rabbit pays the price, but divulges information about his mother and beloved Ted concerning new living arrangements which isn't what Eliot needed. Especially after becoming stranded in a cabin once Bradley has operated an SUV and fallen into ice across a lake.
Edge of Winter goes to great lengths to bolster its slender story, not the least of which is some quality acting by White, and, especially, a matured, varied Holland (who did well in The Impossible where a tsunami wreaked havoc on a vacationing family). It's a quietly assertive, as well as sensitive performance that goes along well with Kinnaman's foreboding, if self-effacing turn which could have benefitted from more subtext.
Two hunters (Shiloh Fernandez and Rossif Sutherland, Donald's son with a French accent) enter the fray and are a part of what the boys discover to be mostly a signal of distress amidst anguish. Connolly just doesn't have control over the material in a convincing, revving it when necessary, but not nearly with the killer chilling atmosphere of what Stanley Kubrick did with a recovering, otherworldly-influenced, finally unhinged writer in the snowbound Overlook hotel (in altering the Stephen King novel subtly, if noticeably). But, if Kinnaman can't deliver like he's been able in the past like in AMC's original series 'The Killing', White and Holland appeal most prominently in what many may feel stranded in at the end.
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