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[Review] ‘The Snowman’ Melts Under the Heat of its Own Trash Fire

[Review] ‘The Snowman’ Melts Under the Heat of its Own Trash Fire

It takes a special kind of movie to make Michael Fassbender look like a bad actor, but somehow, The Snowman accomplishes that feat. Perhaps one of the greatest working actors of our generation, Fassbender is relegated to nothing more than a moronically doe-eyed chain smoker who despite the fact that he constantly has a cigarette in his hand, looks as though he’s never witnessed someone properly light up in his entire life. We’re told he’s an alcoholic, but never given a motive as to why he would’ve turned to the bottle in the first place, or at least hit it so hard that he’d repeatedly wind up lying passed out and drunk in the street. But that’s not surprising. There’s not a whole hell of a lot that makes a lick of sense in this randomly thrown together, terribly written and horribly executed travesty. At best, The Snowman offers up a few laughs, but they’re for all the wrong reasons.

The film starts out in a little isolated cabin, covered with snow and boiling over with abuse and secrecy. A young boy informs his mother that a man has arrived at the door, so she makes herself up in the mirror, shaking all the while. At the kitchen table, the three of them sit uncomfortably as the man quizzes the boy on the history of their country following the aftermath of World War II. For each wrong answer, the man slaps the boy’s mother, eventually hitting her so hard that it sends her flying onto the floor. Instead of helping her back up, the boy scrambles to grab some coffee beans, heads outside, and builds a snowman. The woman threatens to tell the man’s wife about their out-of-wedlock son, and he replies that he’ll simply never show up again. Chasing him out the door, the woman cries, gathering up her child and hopping behind the wheel to follow him down the snowy banks before he disappears forever. At a certain point, the woman lets go of the wheel, dazed, allowing the car to slowly maneuver itself onto a frozen lake, the sheet of ice cracking and giving way beneath her. The boy hops out and urges his mother to do the same, but she simply sits quietly, defeated, and allows the car to pull her down into the icy depths below, abandoning her son and ending her wretched life for good.

Flash forward to twenty-something years later and Harry Hole (Fassbender) is just waking up from another grueling hangover, this time on a children’s frozen playground, eyelids snapping open as an empty bottle slips out of his hand and crashes to the floor. He stumbles back to his home, and then to work, where he is apparently a policeman who has taken a voluntary leave of absence without informing any of his coworkers of his decision. It is at work where he discovers an anonymous letter telling him that someone has been watching him, and all this time while he was sleeping, he was busy building his victim a snowman. Growing delirious and desperate for a case, he teams up with an unlikely female detective named Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), and the two begin investigating a series of strange murders, all women, typically with children, and always with a small snowman built outside, facing the house. It is unclear who the killer is or what his grand plan may be, but one thing’s for sure – someone has turned something jolly and sweet into something cold and sinister.

It’s hard to know where to start when describing the problems with this film. It is astounding that this movie was ever made, let alone released to the public. Every time a snowman appears onscreen, it elicits laughs, not shrieks of terror. The evidence that the police collects points them to a killer who targets families while it’s snowing outside. Grasping at straws doesn’t even begin to describe what a ridiculous lack of a case that comes to be. The flashbacks are unnecessary at best, and strangely moronic at worst – why are they dubbing Val Kilmer’s voice? Who the hell made that decision? – and it’s not just the killer who lacks proper motivation for committing his crimes. Every single character onscreen has a flimsy background, made all the worse by their overdramatic performances, which all together makes the film which should be a dramatic thriller seem like a campy, sloppy, poorly strung together lost film from the archives that people would play for laughs as a midnight movie at a retro theater in Los Angeles. This film is such a mess, it’s hard to even properly describe all of its problems without sounding erratic. There are so many issues, but perhaps the biggest disappointment in all of this is that Thomas Alfredson, the man behind Let the Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the director of his trash fire, making it even more of a let down than it would be by itself considering all of the accomplished actors it has sprawling all over the place within the picture. If you’re looking for a few goofy laughs at a ridiculously smug snowman, then you might get something out of this, but if you like your films to have any sort of consistency, proper performances, or even a storyline that’s somewhat worth following, then stay far away from The Snowman, which might possibly be the worst film of the year so far.



  • Grimphantom
    • Saturn

      There have been a couple of pretty scathing reviews of the movie over here in the UK on the tv.
      Shame, as the trailer makes it look decent.
      Still, I’ll probably try and get to the cinema in the week to check it out anyway, hoping for the best.

  • When I first heard of this movie and who was attached to direct and star in it I was suuuuuuper excited. Then the trailer came out and it looked dreadful. Just a highlight real of action bits and misdirection, cliche dialog (“He’s been toying with us the entire time”, “I gave you all the clues”). IDK I was vastly let down from the trailer.

    That being said, I’ll still see it to get a fair judgment, but man. Surprised and not surprised. Bummer

    • HarryIsAScam

      Can’t take someone serious who uses IDK instead of typing words out like an adult. Maybe, you’re a teen girl.

  • Aaron Braun

    They’re dubbing Val Kilmer’s voice because he has throat cancer you jackass!

    • Darren Kerr

      I hope Kalyn realises how much of a wanker she looks.
      A bit of research doesn’t go amiss.

    • Adam Matthews

      As someone who seen this film, i feel the reviewer is criticising the dubbing because in a few scenes its not even in sync

  • Jay Bennett

    I really didnt want to believe this upon reading the first 1/5 review I saw, but after seeing 3 in one day…

    • turk

      Yeah, this is getting hammered all over. I’m so disappointed, because it was one of the movies I was most looking forward to. Oh well, I’ll see it at some point. Hopefully, it isn’t as bad as the print it is getting.

      • Jay Bennett

        Was expecting to see this in the cinema, after so many extremely negative reviews I’ll wait until it shows up online somewhere

  • quantumbleep

    Lol This is the same HACK that wrote The Mummy “review” for BD.

    The writer does not understand the difference between a reCAP and a reVIEW.

    I haven’t seen the film, so it could very well be terrible (as was The Mummy), but this “review” is a trash fire in itself.

    • Creepshow

      She should write for Wikipedia instead. I stopped reading her play-by-plays after her Kong “walk through”. It’s utterly ridiculous.

    • MODOK

      Lol This is the same HACK that wrote The Mummy “review” for BD

      Breaking news: local man angry that someone disagreed with him about a movie.

      • quantumbleep

        Breaking News: “Moron doesn’t bother to read comment, replies anyway.”

        • MODOK

          The local man went on to write childish insults and continue crying about the lady who writes movie reviews on the internet. Why is he this unnaturally upset about these reviews? Is he a troll hired by Universal to defend The Snowman? Has he missed his medications? Does a woman’s byline on an article make him feel emasculated? Many questions, very few answers. Back to you in the studio.

          • quantumbleep

            LOL so much projecting! Yikes, you must be a sad soul.
            Great job at beating your joke to death for maximum cringe effect, though.
            Maybe just learn how to read a comment before replying and embarrassing yourself.

          • MODOK

            When asked for comment, the local man could only offer more grade-school taunts. Witnesses now believe the local man may actually be a child, which would explain his simplistic responses and inability to control his rage. After all, how many adults would ever actually use the term “LOL” non-ironically?

            Coming up after the break, we’ll have a renowned child psychiatrist with us to discuss what has become a fascinating and bizarre spectacle. And now a word from our sponsors.

          • quantumbleep

            LOL I’m reading all of your replies in Simpsons Comic Book Guy voice, it’s hilarious.
            By the way Gramps, “LOL” has been around for over 25 years now, since AOL pretty much. So with just a dash of math and a sprinkle of logic you’d realize that those people who grew up in that era are now ADULTS.
            Hell, some of those adults might even know the proper use of the word “IRONIC”.
            These same adults may also possibly NOT GIVE A FVCK about following traditional rules of grammar when posting on sites with names like “BLOODY DISGUSTING”.


            And you’re STILL pretending to be a news reporter! You are THAT much of an arrogant douche that you think you’re somehow more mature?

          • Valak

            As a child psychiatrist and world renown psychologist, I can confirm that both the local man and reporter of this fascinating case are both getting their panties in a bunch over nothing. I would highly suggest the Freudian approach of removing panties and having an orgy to release the sexual tension, or maybe even a visit to a proctologist to have apparent sticks removed from their anal cavities would be in order.

  • Necro

    Although I have yet to see this, in all honesty nothing I read or seen on it didn’t make it all that enticing anyway.

  • Eliot Alen Walnut

    After reading this review, now I’m intrigued; I do love a good car crash.

  • J Jett

    this looked so good in the trailer but after reading (a couple of days ago) that there are chunks of the story/script that were unable to be filmed (for whatever reason) which then in turn make the movie full of plot holes(?), it turned me off from going to see it in theaters.

    • Barry El Beardo

      It’s not worth paying to see. Its more like a ‘watching on a sunday afternoon’ film

  • Collin

    Just reading the plot summary gives me a head ache

  • PMD2

    This critic gave Happy Death Day a positive review so automatically the rating for The Snowman improves.

    • Adam Matthews

      no no The Snowman is actually much worse than this review could ever convey

  • Khy

    The movie looks absolutely striking and gorgeous…A devastatingly beautiful thriller with almost horror-esque undertones…

    I guess it was too good to be true.

    • Barry El Beardo

      You’ll be shocked as to how bad it is

  • Matt Miller

    This was unexpected

  • K Nida

    I recommend everyone check out the book instead. It’s part of a series but you don’t have to read the previous books to read “The Snowman”.

  • Gray Michael

    That’s the great thing about VOD. In a couple weeks I can catch this for 4 or 5 bucks instead of 10 in the theater and I have beer.

  • Adam Matthews

    I saw it for free at a premier, i will never get that hour and a half back – Alfredson deserves to never get his hands on another film for this mess THAT is how bad it is! The fact that some horror films get shelved (Trick r Treat) and then thrown out on VOD years later and THIS got a premier is beyond me!

    When the film ended in our theatre, my friend clapped “cause its a premier” and the slow clap that followed by the rest of the audience said everything!

    The studio knew that people would pay to this this cast and thought “fuck it lets try get as much revenue as we can for this collection of scenes sellotaped together”

    • Barry El Beardo

      Alfredson’s direction on Let The Right One In is amazing.

      I read the studio interference led to a lot of the issues on the Snowman which is such a shame as it had SO much potential

  • Rick-Taylor

    I know Fassbender is a great actor and has been in a number of amazing movies, but it seems everything he has touched within the last 5 years has been garbage. I dunno if he getting duped by his agent, is just looking to cash some checks, or legitimately likes the roles he chooses. He has become a barometer, now. If he is in it, I know it will be crap.

    • Evan3

      Days of Future Past is incredible, and I’ve heard good things about Lady Macbeth.

      • jurgmandr

        Macbeth was excellent and he did a great job in assassin’s creed, even though it was a pretty mediocre film.

  • Barry El Beardo

    Unfortunately it was pretty rubbish, none of the storylines are fleshed out and the characters are all wasted. Theres shit loads of footage in the trailer thats not in the film. its edited terribly…as seen in the trailer a snowball is thrown at a woman window. When she looks out, you just see a snowman there and it looks really stupid.

    I reviewed it myself if anyone fancies taking a look….

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