Plot: What’s it about?
When it snows in the mountains of Colorado, if it comes in droves, you’d better somewhere good, as you won’t be leaving until the snow fades. This is the case when a state trooper named Jason (Adam Beach) and his former steady, Nancy (Rose McGowan) end up snowed inside a lodge in the mountains. But the two are not alone, as various visitors & guests also inhabit the place and all now have to spend some serious time with each other. This could be a peaceful time to relax and wait the storm out, but the folks are in for a night filled with tension and danger. The people within the lodge don’t each other at all, so when a murder is discovered with a fat sack of cash, no one can be trusted. Then when things seem like they can’t get much worse, the cash vanishes and the body count begins to rise. Can Jason figure out this mystery and stop the killer, or will everyone be butchered until the cash is returned?
I’d never seen this film before this home video edition, but I had heard a lot of mixed reviews. I always read some reviews on films I’m interested in, but when it comes to suspense/thrillers, I never trust them and simply use them to learn about the actors & storyline. I’ve heard too many rave reviews for thrillers that disappoint with a predictable “twist” ending, so I just look for myself and decide. The Last Stop isn’t a high profile film by any means, but I was pleased to see it given a nice treatment on our beloved format. The main names included are Rose McGowan & Jurgen Prochnow, but the film doesn’t suffer from lack of star power. I think the basic premise is rather simple, but as it unfolds it becomes more and more complex. A few of the twists seem lame, but most of the turns work very well, which means the suspense is thick & effective. I think the variety of characters add a lot to the film also, while the ending should keep you in suspense until all is revealed. This isn’t the best film in the genre, but it is worth a look if you like suspense/thrillers.
This movie is short on famous names, but it has a couple of them and in the end, the cast as a whole turns in more than adequate performances. I think the best turn from this ensemble cast comes from veteran actor Jurgen Prochnow, who gives an above average performance here. This material doesn’t allow him to show off his skills in full, but he still manages to bring his character to life in fine form. He might not be a household known actor, but Prochnow is a powerful performer and he is always able to elevate a film, simply by being cast. If you want to see more of Prochnow’s work, I recommend Das Boot, The Seventh Sign, Dune, Body of Evidence, In The Mouth Of Madness, Air Force One, and The Replacement Killers. I am not a real big fan of Rose McGowan, but she turns out to be pretty good within this picture. McGowan is able to pull of this more subtle role well and I admit, she impressed me. You can also see McGowan in such films as The Doom Generation, Phantoms, Ready To Rumble, Jawbreaker, and Scream. The director of The Last Stop is Mark Malone, who also directed the films Hoods and Killer.
Video: How does it look?
The Last Stop is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I think this is an above average visual presentation, but the source materials seem to be less than stellar at times, which forces me to lower the score. I saw frequent marks on the print and also, the image seems to be a little too soft from my eyes, but these issues don’t mean the transfer is bad. The colors seem natural, as they should be and flesh tones look warm and consistent also. I didn’t think the black levels were as sharp as they should be, but no detail is overexposed and shadows are in working order too. I think this is as good as the film can look without some changes to the source print, so I give this one my recommendation.
Audio: How does it sound?
I never expect much from even 5.1 surround tracks on low key films, but this one has a very immersive overall texture. This film relies on suspense a lot, so the audio track needs to support that and thankfully, this track sounds terrific. I found the musical score to be fitting for this film and in this mix, it makes good use of the speakers. I also heard a lot of subtle sound use, that adds a lot of tension and tone to the film. In a movie like this one, the more suspense, the better and this track kicks in some extra tension. I had no problems with the dialogue either, vocals were clean and crisp at all times. I also want to note that while the case lists only a 2.0 surround track, the disc also contains the 5.1 option I based this review on. You can also enable Spanish subtitles, if you’d like.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes an informative audio commentary track with director Mark Malone, who discusses his reasons behind doing the film, his feelings on the cast, and also some general thoughts on the movie. I liked Malone’s comments a lot and he never seemed distant or silent much at all. You can also check out some talent files, the film’s theatrical trailer, and interviews with seven cast & crew members. A nice selection of extras, especially for a non special edition release.