Of the DVDs in my collection, this is second only to Leprechaun in the Hood as a movie that people give me grief over. And I'm not deluded; this is not a good movie. It does, however, have a few things going for it:
1. It's got a great title. Maybe the greatest title of all time.
2. The folks making this clearly did so fully aware of just how bad it is.
3. It features an appearance by Ian Abercrombie, who should be in every movie.
4. Of the movies in the sub-sub-genre of "slashers set at Caribbean resorts," JF 2 is far better than I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Broken Lizard's Club Dread.
5. Michael Keaton does not appear in this movie, and there are no touching family moments.
But wait! What if you haven't seen the first movie? No worries: We get a quick recap in the opening scene, as Sam, the Sheriff and hero of the first movie, recounts what happened to his psychiatrist (who not only doesn't believe the story, but plays Sam's sessions over the speakerphone, so that the nurse, receptionist, and other folks can listen in with amusement). See, Jack was a serial killer in real life who, thanks to an unfortunate accident involving snow and radiation, mutated into a snowman. He can move around, melt and re-form, and talk (making Chucky-esque quips). And he terrorized Sam's small town and killed a bunch of the townsfolk in rather creative ways (including, most memorably, a scene in which the snowman stabbed and possibly raped Shannon Elizabeth to death in a bathtub*). Eventually, Sam figured out that antifreeze is the only way to kill Jack, and the snowman was melted down and buried.
But, even as Sam is being scoffed at by his shrink (who suggests a vacation), Evil and Stupid Scientists are digging up that antifreeze, and performing experiments on it. And they leave a cup of hot coffee right next to the antifreeze chamber. When the janitor (who is actually listed in the credits as "idiot") comes in, he jostles the container, and the coffee and antifreeze mix, creating a chain reaction that leads to Jack reforming and exploding out of the container (embedding a huge shard of glass in the janitor's throat). Yay, Science!
Jack turns out to have absorbed some of Sam's DNA during the climactic fight of the first movie**, and is thus drawn to him, even as Sam, his wife, and their two friends head off for a remote island vacation. He swims through the ocean, killing two refugees on a raft (drowning one and stabbing the other with an icicle). He takes their one piece of food (a carrot), because, well, what's a snowman without a nose? Besides, when we see a melted Jack moving from place to place, it's easier to track a carrot than a puddle of water. And cheaper for the f/x department.
On the island, we briefly meet the owner (a retired "Colonel"), his assistant, assorted guests, and Captain Fun, the island's, um, captain of fun. We also see the carrot (with Jack's sarcastic, disembodied voice attached) wash up. Let the killing begin!
Our first three victims are three vacationing teenage girls, out getting drunk on the beach. The first one wanders underneath the tree in which Jack's hiding, and inadvertantly avoids getting impaled on the icicles that Jack keeps dropping. Eventually, Jack just gets fed up and turns into an ice anvil, which drops on her and crushes her. The second one goes looking for her, finds the body, and backs away, allowing Jack to shoot an ice spike up through the beach and trip her onto it. He has to hunt down the third girl, who has waited at the beach. He taunts her invisibly for a bit, then materializes and puts some ice tongs into her eyes.
As expected, when The Colonel finds the remains of the one squashed girl, he insists that there's nothing to be concerned about. You know, if the owners and managers who cover things up in every horror movie actually ever survived, they'd all get their asses sued.
However, as the Colonel and his assistant are deciding what to do, Agent Manners, another refugee from the first movie, shows up (played by a completely different actor, using plastic surgery as an excuse). He's got an eyepatch and an attitude, and since he's found the tongs (complete with a pair of eyeballs), he knows that something's up. He's also the island's head of security (what a coincidence!), and convinces his bosses that they need to radio someone for help. Of course, Jack has already taken out the communications.
Meanwhile, out at a remote pool, a model and her photographer are working on a swimsuit fashion shoot. Jack sneaks into their cooler in the form of ice cubes, and is very happy when she uses one of his cubes to, well, enhance her perkiness. He's even happier when she takes a drink of water and swallows a mouthful of Jack, as it gives him the chance to do his best Scanners imitation, exploding her head from the inside. The photographer is grabbed by Jack offscreen (we see what happens through his pre-timed camera) and strangled and eventually stabbed with the carrot.
By this point, Sam is sure that something is up, even if he doesn't realize that he's got a psychic link with Jack, but his wife doesn't believe him. Agent Manners, though, is convinced, and we get some comedic investigation scenes at a costume party.
While what passes for "character development" is occurring, one girl decides to take a late-night swim in the pool (buck naked, of course). Jack comes across her, and freezes up the pool, trapping the poor girl under the ice to drown and/or freeze to death. Jack then freezes over the pool's patio, icing a girl who'd fallen asleep on a lounge chair as well. By the time Sam and everyone else wakes up, the island has had a "freak snowstorm," and everyone but Sam is convinced that this is great! Snowball fights and other fun stuff ensues. It's all fun and games until one moron tries the Christmas Story thing and gets his tongue stuck to a pole. Jack comes along and pulls him off the pole, although his tongue doesn't go with him.
Jack then comes across all the folks frolicking, and throws one of his own snowballs into the mix, which somehow lops of a guy's arm. A few more killer snowballs and icicles, and soon, everyone's panicking and running inside. Our heroes load some squirt guns with antifreeze, but Jack's vanished, for now. This gives the heroes time to regroup, and they set a trap that will cause Jack to fall into a pool of antifreeze.
But it turns out that Sam's DNA somehow helps Jack not succumb to the antifreeze this time, and after Jack melts, he reforms and runs away, spawning a bunch of baby Jack snowballs in his wake. The surviving characters capture one, but it grows an icicle and impales Captain Fun in the eye before the heroes can shove it into a blender (which doesn't kill it, but does keep it trapped). Meanwhile, Agent Manners has tracked Jack down, but, unaware of the danger of the baby snowballs, is ambushed by dozens of them, who bite him to death with their sharp snowball teeth.
A hunt for the snowballs leads to another chaotic battle in which more unnamed survivors hiding at the tiki bar get killed, but Sam's wife, in an act of desperation, throws a drink on a snowball, only to watch it explode.
She sniffs the tumbler, and recognizes the key ingredient: bananas!
See, Sam's got a deathly allergy to bananas. And when Jack absorbed some of Sam's DNA, he also picked up that allergy. Trust me, it's all very scientific and logical, like everything else in this film.
Anyway, we get a montage, as the heroes mix up a batch of banana smoothies, load their squirt guns, and kill all of Jack's offspring***. Now they've pissed him off! We even see him shed a tear as he finds his last cute little offspring dying.
As the heroes, feeling confident, talk things over in the main part of the resort, Jack appears behind the Colonel and stabs him through the head with an icicle, then slashes the throat of his assistant. He chases Sam's friends into the freezer, and engulfs Sam's wife. Just as all looks lost, Sam appears out of nowhere, armed with a bow and arrow, and he's tied a banana to the arrow****. One perfect shot later, and Jack explodes in a shower of snow and gore. Sam carries his somehow-still-alive wife out to the ocean (forgetting about their friends in the freezer), and we roll credits.
Is this movie good? Hell no. But it's surprisingly fun, and the entire cast is clearly having a blast. Other than the opening scene with Abercrombie, few of the folks here have any sort of name recognition, although Shonda Farr (the girl who gets crushed by an anvil, one of the goofiest deaths in film history) is a personal favorite of mine -- she played "April" on the robot girl episode of Buffy, and was one of the two ditzes who accidentally stole a car with a dead body in it (and then, years later, were visiting a fortune teller who was murdered) on CSI. Agent Manners is played by David Allen Brooks (Max on Crusade), and Jack is voiced by Scott MacDonald, who's had some great roles on just about every genre show (notably on Carnivale, Enterprise, and Threshold). Writer/director Michael Cooney wrote Identity, one of the sharper horror flicks of the last few years, and is clearly just having fun here.
Don't get me wrong -- for all the intelligence behind it, Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman is both lowbrow and high in gore content. It's only for the sort of horror movie fan who doesn't mind goofball slapstick, and it's not a film that many people watch twice. But it's definitely a movie worth watching once, if only for the utter cheesiness of it all.
*Which still isn't the lowlight of her career, thanks to Johnson Family Vacation.
**Don't ask how. It's science!
***It occurs to me that, with the main monster taking a backseat during an extended interlude in which the heroes have to fight the monstrous offspring, that this movie follows the narrative structure of Devlin and Emmerich's Godzilla. Only this movie doesn't suck quite as much.
****Green Arrow should try using a Banana Arrow, maybe next time he encounters Gorilla Grodd.