On October 20, arguably the most anticipated film of the year arrived in theaters in the form of arguably the worst film of the year. Both titles go to “The Snowman,” a mystery about two detectives following the trail of a killer who builds snowmen out of his victims. Starring Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson, this Tomas Alfredson directed adaptation from Jo Nesbø’s bestselling novel had every ingredient at its disposal to pose, at the very least, as decent.
Starting with the positives, the acting is far past respectable. Characters provoke the emotions they ought to at the appropriate times, keeping scenes believable if that is all that is paid attention to. Partnered with eerie lighting and slow cinematography to feed the tension in the theater, that’s about all the film has going for it. In essence, the camera is the most important character in the film, acting as an entity of its own, illustrating the vastness of the setting and gradually showing only what it needs to in order to exploit the audience’s suspense by keeping it at bay about what is looming around a corner or within a dark space. Too bad there exists little opportunity for a viewer to appreciate that suspense thanks to the horrendously incoherent array of scenes disguised as a story.
The film in its entirety was never released, or filmed for that matter. An interview with Alfredson by NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, revealed that an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the script did not get filmed, meaning technically, Universal Studios released an unfinished project.
The rushing through events fails to build a story foundation right off the bat. Plot points appear to be connected, but the exposition expects the viewer to follow too many clues in too little time. Consequently, pacing is the second biggest problem this film has, rendering the whole two hour runtime unbearably confusing.
But the final nail in the coffin for “The Snowman” came in the form of the film’s mascot itself. The film reflected an ongoing, unwarranted gag for them; and rightfully so, snowmen are not scary. It came across as a joke, and it didn’t help that the main character’s name was “Harry Hole” either. Granted, this would not be such a crime if the film did not take itself so seriously.
Unfortunately, “The Snowman” is nothing more than an overhyped cash-grab with no direction. The film’s build-up comes by way of continuously trolling patrons for more than their tickets are worth, essentially wasting their time for nothing that even resembles a worthwhile payoff in the end. Good camera angles and good acting can only do so much for a film that requires so much more. It may just be the worst movie of the year thus far.