2006 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #46
My patience is really tested by films like COOL AIR and even my dogged devotion to Albert Pyun cannot compel me to heap praise on this horrible movie. The story is a loose adaptation of an HP Lovecraft short story about a struggling writer who seeks accommodation and accepts a room in a large hillside house. No sooner than he moves in he begins to smell an obnoxious odour coming from a secret and forbidden room upstairs. The room belongs to a bed-ridden doctor who keeps the temperature at sub-zero temperatures, keeping his flesh from decomposing. The story itself is a good one and while I haven't read Lovecraft's story, I know that it's aesthetically and thematically different to this adaptation. One of the qualities that draws me to Albert's work is his strong visual style. He has created some amazing worlds and where his often lacks substance in story, he compensates with vivid and appealing designs. COOL AIR is the complete lack of all of that. The story should lend itself to a gothic, classic retelling but instead it has been filmed inside a bare, ugly modern mansion. There is almost nothing appealing to the eye and the compositions are bland, boring and uninspiring. I have no idea what Albert shot the film with but it looks a lot like a regular mini-dv camcorder. The only way to adapt a story like this is to have a good production value. A soundstage would lend itself brilliantly. It's pretty shonky. The performances are decent enough, however, with little substance to work with the actors come off a lot worse than they should. The original short story is told though narration, which would work well in writing but this movie emulates that aspect and becomes really grading. Oddly COOL AIR was made between two quality Pyun films. I get the sense that Albert was keen to fill in time and this proved a simple, inexpensive and straight forward shoot. If it were a student film I might be impressed but it's no. Its the product of a movie veteran. It ranks right down the bottom with some of his worst movies but considering that i love so much of Albert's work, I can easily over look this one. To be honest I am surprised that Lionsgate even released it on dvd... especially when they're release came early this year - some 7 years after it was made.