Scientists think we may be able to experience ‘temperature contagion‘. Humans are really good at mirroring other humans, so if we see that someone else is cold, we may start to feel colder ourselves. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of ten movies full of snow and ice to cool us down in this June heatwave.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
In this disaster film, climate change causes an extreme weather event that unleashes an apocalyptic winter. Will anyone survive? It stars Dennis Quaid as a climate scientist, Jake Gyllenhaal as his son, and the late, great Ian Holm as a Scottish oceanographer. It also features 416 visual effects shots for the epic snow and ice.
Chalet Girl (2011)
This rom-com- sports mashup is set at a chalet in the Alps, where our underdog heroine (Felicity Jones) has to prove she can snowboard even though she’s not rich or posh. She collects a rich and posh love interest (Ed Westwick) along the way. There’s a lot of falling in snow.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Another apocalyptic winter, courtesy of magic this time in the most recent adaptation of C. S. Lewis’s most famous novel. Four children travel through a wardrobe to another world which has been taken over by a witch (Tilda Swinton) who makes it always winter and never Christmas. Fortunately, they encounter the lion Aslan, who is voiced by Liam Neeson.
The Thing (1982)
In this early 1980s science fiction movie, directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, horror occurs at a remote research station in Antarctica as a shapeshifting alien creature attempts to assimilate the increasingly paranoid scientists and find a way home. The film was received negatively at the time, as people preferred E.T. as their earth-bound alien seeking escape, but it’s become a cult classic. And you can’t get colder than Antarctica.
Back to the fantasy genre for another magical winter apocalypse. Legend stars a very young Tom Cruise as a kind of Green Man (named Jack O’Greene) of the woods who is in love with Princess Lili (Mia Sara). He foolishly agrees to her request to go and see the unicorns. She foolishly ignores his warning not to touch one of the unicorns. An evil goblin takes the opportunity to shoot one of the unicorns and hack off its alicorn, unleashing an apocalyptic winter on the magical forest, or ‘eternal night’ as the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry, in some excellent prosthetic makeup) calls it. Can Jack and Lili fix their mistake? Of course they can; this is not a horror film.
Set in Fargo, North Dakota, this black comedy of a crime caper is knee deep in snow, blood and wood chips. Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) needs money. He hires two guys to kidnap his wife so he can get ransom money from her father. Everything goes wrong and lots of people are murdered. But pregnant Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is going to figure things out.
Adapted from the Stephen King novel, this thriller sees novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) crash in a blizzard just after finishing his latest book, where he kills off his long-standing heroine Misery Chastain after many adventures. He feels trapped by his creation and he wants to write more serious work. He’s rescued by super-fan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) – but she’s not happy about Misery’s fate. Not happy at all. Can Paul escape?
The Revenant (2015)
Set in America in 1823, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is guiding a group of trappers where he gets attacked by a grizzly bear. John Fitzgerald is paid to stay with Glass until he’s dead and then bury him, but Fitzgerald tries to hurry things along. Glass’s son, Hawk, sees Fitzgerald attempting to suffocate his father, so Fitzgerald kills him and leaves Glass for dead. But Glass is not dead; he journeys through the cold wilderness in search of vengeance.
I will happily use Gremlins in any list I can – it’s one of my favourite films (I also love the sequel – don’t judge me). In this comedy-horror set at Christmas, our hero, Billy, (Zach Galligan) acquires a cute mogwai (which apparently means ‘devil’ in Cantonese). It comes with three important rules: don’t expose it to sunlight, don’t let it come into contact with water, and never, ever feed it after midnight. Of course, the rules are broken, and Billy finds himself beset by gremlins.
Disney’s 2013 mega-hit features another magical snow-pocalypse. Princess Elsa has the magical gift of creating snow and ice, but her parents think it’s dangerous so she becomes isolated while keeping her powers a secret, even from her sister, Princess Anna. Following the death of their parents at sea, Elsa becomes queen of Arendelle, but emotional strain causes her to lose control and display her powers. She flees and builds her own ice palace, but accidentally creates eternal winter for Arendelle. It’s up to Anna to find Elsa and get her to end winter.
Bonus No. 11: Snowpiercer (2013)
I’m adding this as an extra on my list, as I haven’t actually seen this film (although I’m currently watching the Netflix series). The movie is based on a graphic novel by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, and directed by Bong Joon-ho. Once again, an apocalyptic winter has fallen on earth, this time due to scientists’ attempts to fix global warming. Snowpiercer is a train which travels the globe full of survivors who are internally segregated into different classes. Curtis (Chris Evans) leads a revolution from the tail of the train which is home to the most squalid conditions.