Starting off with an allusion to Kubrick’s The Shining, Left Alone in the Snow is a potent, suspenseful film that delivers a lot of goods in its brief running time. Written and directed by Ricky Bird Jr., the movie opens with an expansive overhead shot of a car driving through a mountain road in a snow storm. Lilly (Chelsea Newman), a screenwriter of horror pictures, informs her agent Tracey (Michelle Dokolas) that if the snow gets worse, she’ll be trapped in the cabin she’s heading to for the foreseeable future.
While glad Lilly will have time to complete her writing assignments, Tracey is concerned about her being trapped near Teddy (Ricky Bird Jr.), a creepy neighbor. Lilly reminds Tracey that her friend Frank (D.T. Carney) will be around to check on her and that she doesn’t need a gun to protect herself. Once she arrives at the cabin, Lilly finds a sinister anonymous love letter waiting for her. Frank stops by and voices his concern about her safety, but Lilly reassures him he has nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, Teddy is watching her through the windows and groping himself. Then, in no time at all, five flavors of Hell break out at once, and things get gruesome.
“…Tracey is concerned about her being trapped near Teddy…”
Chelsea Newman does a wonderful job in the lead role, coming across like a real person instead of a cipher for her writing profession. She plays it natural enough so that the ugliness makes a more brutal impact. D.T. Carney does very well as Frank, providing a sense of normalcy in the face of both the storm and the threat of Teddy. Bird Jr. makes the (possibly?) controversial decision in his portrayal of Teddy to do a tribute to Richard Pace’s performance in the original I Spit on Your Grave. While one may want to reconsider the replication of the stereotype of the mentally handicapped rapist, the choice works here as it establishes Teddy’s problem in a matter of seconds. He also manages to rein it in without going full-on impaired ala Stephen King’s Jordy Verrill in Creepshow.
Well-placed low angles in and around the cabin increase the eeriness and help establish the setting. The pacing varies a bit from scene to scene, such as Lily exploring the house versus Teddy stalking Frank, but it absolutely works. It is best to put the viewer in a lull before setting the floor underneath them on fire. Then, when things turn nasty, the pacing skyrockets to the chilling climax with no time wasted. Left Alone in the Snow is a distillation of 90 minutes of suspense into a 15-minute jolt to the system.
"…[a] jolt to the system."