|Ratings||UK: 15, USA: R, France: 12|
|Source of story||A book of the same name written by Michael Redhill|
|Starring||Susan Sarandon, Gil Bellows, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, Donald Sutherland, Christopher Heyerdahl|
|Ratings||IMDb: 5.8/10 by 8585 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 52% by 46 reviewers. Review2view: 5/10.|
Elevator Pitch: In the snowy scenery of a small Ontario town an old woman is murdered apparently for no reason, although alarmingly she seems to be smiling. The local police chief, hard drinking Hazel Micallef, is investigating and finds that other murders have taken place leaving the bodies with a similar facial expression. A recently arrived young policeman from Toronto is keen to investigate and is soon flying about using some redundant air miles. The police are able to determine that those who have died are all terminally ill and that they have been drugged which results in the rictus smile. Hazel visits a local priest to get a line on the killings and it seems that there is a religious precedent for them, and actually Hazel herself may be vulnerable to the killer.
Content: No sex or nudity, but Hazel is drinking fairly constantly due to events in her past. She argues with her mum a bit. The murders are fairly gruesomely presented in one case a man having had his stomach removed. The detectives go about in the snow. We see the possible killer going about looking a bit saintly, at one point administering a drug to a child who is ill. Police cars drive about in the snow. The intent of the murderer is gradually revealed.
This was a low cost straight to video film, Canada for once playing itself, moderately well liked by the critics and apparently financially successful in its chosen environment. Some critics have suggested that it is a bit similar to Fargo, but surely that is just the snow. There is not much to say, as illustrated by the IMDb trivia – only three items. The Marvel films for instance usually generate several hundred. So there we are, a film which you might have on while actually doing something else.I find that Susan Sarandon has only appeared in three other films reviewed on this site. They are: That’s My Boy, Thelma and Louise and The Banger Sisters.