Welcome to Lost Mountain, Logan County, Utah, where the men are men and the ski bunnies have eight legs and insatiable appetites.
We meet Bob and Rocky, two inept, local, bow hunters. Upon seeing an elk wander into arrow range, Bob says, "Hello Bambi." Actually, it may have been Rocky that said the line. Regardless, Bambi was a deer, not an elk. Bob and Rocky quickly go from hunters to hunted as we get our first look at an ice spider.
I was immediately disappointed in the spiders. From the title, I anticipated monster spiders made out of ice. But instead, these are just giant spiders, the size of bears, that can withstand cold temperatures.
A junior ski team arrives for two weeks of intensive training at Lost Mountain Resort. Chad (Noah Bastian) is the spoiled rich kid. He's obnoxious and we immediately know he's going to either learn a valuable lesson and change his ways, or be killed by the ice spiders. Hopefully the latter.
We also meet ex-ski champ, Dash (Patrick Muldoon). Dash had hopes of a career as a professional skier but an injury relegated him to Lost Mountain as a ski instructor. Chad provokes Dash, "Now you're teaching posers on a bunny slope!"
It's dialogue like this that makes the film feel like it was written in the late 1980s. All these ski bums tread the line between channeling Bill and Ted or simply playing dumb jocks. Early in the film we realize we don't care about any of the them. They're caricatures at best. So when Dash and Chad have a ski race down the mountain, it feels more like we're wasting time, rather than developing characters.
The hunters are eventually reported missing and Dash goes out with Ranger Rick (K. Danor Gerald) to look for them. It's a real stretch to pull Dash in for this search and rescue gig. We're simply told that all the other rangers have the flu.
Soon we find out there's a secret government lab nearby at Logan County Proving Grounds. The military begins investigating the escaped ice spiders much to the chagrin of the scientist in charge, who insists they capture and not kill the spiders. "This program saves lives!" he tells us. That's a "fact" we're never sold on.
The film never delves into the science that brought the spiders to be, except to say there was copious amounts of, "genetic tinkering and cellular grafts." However they were created, the CGI they were realized with is overly shiny and really stands out.
We learn Dash spent twelve years in the Marines, which we don't believe for a second. He eventually kills a spider with the antlers of a taxidermic deer head. He then says, "Nice rack." Good grief.
The climax comes at the snowboard half pipe and it involves an avalanche cannon, which makes as much sense as anything else does. But when the military captain begins singing Itsy Bitsy Spider, I was ready to call it quits, and I think the cast was as well.
Footnote 1: The movie thinks it's hilarious that the ranger's name is Rick, so much so that the characters even comment on it. I had a subscription to Ranger Rick magazine when I was growing up, and my kids did as well. I don't ever recall seeing an issue where they dealt with ice spiders, but that's not to say there isn't an opportunity for some cross-promotion in the future.
Footnote 2: We're told at the end there were thirty casualties. I happened to be keeping a tally and only counted twenty.