Snowpiercer (2014)

There are many classic horror/action hybrid films, so many that often that sub-genre gets absorbed into the much larger, much more all inclusive "action" genre. Films like They Live, Aliens, and Blade Runner all have strong horror elements running through them, but leave the horror genre behind when people start trying to categorize them. Snowpiercer is one of these cross-genre films. Much like the other films mentioned, Snowpiercer is also a classic.

When hippies ruin the Earths atmosphere attempting to correct the myth that is global warming...wait what? Just seeing if you were paying attention. That is what happens though. A chemical is released into the air in hopes of cooling the Earth down to natural levels. In true Twilight Zone fashion, the
chemical works, but works too good. Earth is plunged into a new ice age. All life on the planet ceases to exist. All life that is, except for those that have managed to board a self sustaining train.

Year in the future the train continues to run and life aboard it continues to progress. Much like life as we know it, society is separated by a class striation. The poor folks in the back of the train are sustained by what meager scraps the well privileged folks in the front of the train deem fit to let them have. But "there is unrest in the forest. there is trouble with the trees. The maples want the sunlight but the oaks ignore their pleas." Metaphorically, of course. The poor folks in the back of the back of the train are ready to revolt again. This time led by Curtis (Chris Evans) and Edgar (Jamie Bell). There efforts are spurned on by Gilliam (John Hurt) and a mysterious benefactor/rabblerouser from the front of the train.

What follows is one of the most intense viewing experiences of the year. Curtis leads his rebels through the train cars, paralleling Dantes levels of hell. With their movement through the powerful locomotive, the rebels situation gets more and more desperate until Curtis - with almost nothing left reaches the engine room of the train. A confrontation with the trains inventor/president leads to what could have been one of the best Twilight Zone/twist endings ever. Unfortunately, the film stumbles in the last real falling short of the lofty levels it flew at during the first two and a half acts.

Fortunately, the end of the film is its only major flaw. Brilliantly directed by Joon-ho Bong (The Host), he knowingly takes a liberal page out of the Terry Gilliam playbook. The film is aesthetically surreal, yet grounded in a steam-punk sort of pseudo reality. Bong paces out the action deliberately, spending time between action punches, building a story with heart. Evans and Bell are spectacular as our hero duo, and Hurt adds a gravitas to the film, keeping it from sliding too far off in to the action film/shoot 'em up abyss.

Snowpiercer is simply one of the best films of the year. Extremely well directed and brilliantly acted, it's one of the best genre crossing horror/action films in a generation. It's available right now on the Netflix and at your various DVD/Blu Ray purchasing points.

That's it for me. Thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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