The Snowman: serious film by serious people – or least spooky serial killer thriller ever?


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “The Snowman: serious film by serious people – or least spooky serial killer thriller ever?” was written by Stuart Heritage, for theguardian.com on Thursday 20th July 2017 11.15 UTC

The Snowman, which is due for release in October, absolutely drips with pedigree. It’s based on a Jo Nesbø thriller about a serial killer with a disturbingly unique calling card: he leaves snowmen next to his victims. Originally due to be directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s a movie from film-maker Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) that stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, JK Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Toby Jones, with a score composed by Jonny Greenwood. The message is clear: this is a serious film made by serious people. As its new trailer demonstrates, The Snowman is intended to be taken very seriously indeed.

That said, it’s got loads of snowmen in it. Loads of them. Which is a risk, because it’s hard to make a snowman dramatically meaningful or ominous. Think of snowmen and you’ll think of Aled Jones warbling as a little boy flies through the air with his chilly best friend. Worse, you’ll think of the Michael Keaton movie Jack Frost. For The Snowman to work, it needs to employ some masterful production design: these snowmen have a lot to sell. With that in mind, here’s a definitive ranking of all The Snowman’s spookiest looking snowmen.

Still from The Snowman
All photographs: YouTube

9. This is not a spooky snowman. His hands are raised in what can only be described as surrender, he has the facial expression of someone who just received socks for Christmas and he’s wearing a silly hat. If this was a ranking of snowmen based on their innate disappointment with millinery, he would win in a heartbeat. But it isn’t. So he doesn’t. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 2/10

Still from The Snowman

8. A lonely snowman is not a spooky snowman. And so it comes to pass with this measly example. Look at him, all by himself on top of a hill. Who’s he going to spook? One of those rocks? Hardly. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 3.5/10

Still from The Snowman

7. This one isn’t even a snowman. It’s just a person with snow on their head. You know what would be spookier than this? Someone wearing one of those cheap-looking nylon snowman suits you can buy from third-party resellers on Amazon. At least those pose a relatively spooky fire safety risk. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 4/10

Still from The Snowman

6. On second thoughts, I’m disqualifying this one for being literally just a person in an animal mask. Not a snowman. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: N/A

Still from The Snowman

5. A nice idea – it’s a snowman that occupies negative space, which makes it half-snowman and half-ghost – but let down by poor execution. They’ve put it on top of a car, for crying out loud. Ask yourself: who are the easiest people to spook with a snowman? That’s right, children. And how many children are tall enough to see a car’s roof? Zero, that’s how many. A wasted opportunity. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 5/10

Still from The Snowman

4. Not to get all Red Pill on you, but this film is called The Snowman, not The Snow-Woman. To strive for gender equality by putting a dead lady’s head on top of a pile of snow and passing it off as a snowman is political correctness gone mad. The spookiest thing about this is the possibility she’ll steal your credit card and blow all your money on handbags – am I right!? Whatever next, a female Doctor Who? SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 5.5/10

Still from The Snowman

3. Seriously, what is it with all these surrender poses? I mean, sure, you’re a snowman, doomed to a life of miserable impermanence. And sure, a toddler could beat you in a fight by just kicking your head off. But you’re a snowman! Be spookier! SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 6/10

Still from The Snowman

2. On the surface, this isn’t a particularly spooky snowman – he’s a happy little chap in a nice hat – but he gets extra points for how The Snowman trailer sells him. Not only does Michael Fassbender introduce him by gravely intoning, “He’s been watching us the whole time!”, but he’s also the subject of a terrifying close-up crash cut accompanied by borderline apocalyptic drumming. Mess with this snowman at your peril. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 8/10

Still from The Snowman

1. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the spookiest snowman of them all. My God, it can actually talk. “HELLO MISTER POLICE” it says, like a ghoulish version of Manuel from Fawlty Towers. What will it say next? “MY NOSE IS CARROT MISTER POLICE, IS GO HONK HONK”? It doesn’t bear thinking about. Consider yourself nightmared until the very end of time. Brr. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 10/10

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