The Last Winter (2006 film)

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The Last Winter
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Larry Fessenden
Produced by Antidote Films
Glass Eye Pix
Zik Zak Filmworks
Written by Larry Fessenden
Robert Leaver
Starring Ron Perlman
Pato Hoffmann
James LeGros
Connie Britton
Music by Jeff Grace
Anton Sanko
Distributed by IFC Films
Release dates
September 11, 2006 (2006-09-11) (TIFF)
September 1, 2007 (2007-09-01)
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Last Winter is a 2006 thriller film, directed by Larry Fessenden. The Last Winter premiered in The Contemporary World Cinema Programme at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2006. The script for the film originally featured a more woodsy Alaska with pine trees and it was after a research trip to Prudhoe Bay that they discovered the harsh flat conditions that ultimately ended up in the film.[1]


The American oil company KIK Corporation is building an ice road to explore the remote northern Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seeking energy independence. Independent environmentalists work together in a drilling base headed by the tough Ed Pollack in a sort of agreement with the government, approving procedures and sending reports of the operation. When one team member is found dead and naked on the snow, the environmentalist James Hoffman suspects that sour gas (natural gas containing hydrogen sulfide) may have been leaked out as a result of runaway climate change (arctic methane release). The sour gas might then be provoking hallucinations and insanity in the group. After a second fatal incident, he convinces Ed to travel with the team to a hospital for examination. However, weird events end up trapping the group at the base.

One of the characters presently opines that Nature itself has turned against mankind. Documentation and research found in an abandoned shack in the middle of the Arctic by another team member suggest that the Earth is releasing 'The Last Winter'. This implies that the rapacious, virus-like behavior of oil-seeking humans has resurrected the 'ghosts' of the fossil-fuels being siphoned out of the ground. The chief catalyst here is allegedly the Spirit of the Wendigo. These ghosts and other bizarre occurrences kill off most of the remaining characters. In the penultimate scene, Hoffman must decide whether to fire a flare gun at a ghost stalking Pollack, or up into the air to summon help from a nearby town, opting for the latter. This action causes the apparition to focus on Hoffman instead of Pollack, and it grabs him and carries him off. The scene then segues into a montage of past life images which interrupt themselves long enough to reveal Pollack being attacked and presumably killed by a trio of spectral creatures.

The ending scene is that of the only surviving researcher, Abby Sellers, waking up alone in a deserted hospital with no recollection of arriving there. A news anchorman is broadcasting over a television in the waiting room about natural disasters occurring nationwide. She discovers a male employee who has committed suicide by hanging himself in one of the rooms. She proceeds outside, and the camera's perspective switches to a claustrophobic overhead shot that gives away very little of what she is witnessing. There are pools of water on the ground nearby. In the background she hears car alarms and the sound of the wind, as well as a fluttering noise similar to that made by the murderous "ghost" creatures further north in the Alaskan snow fields.



  1. ^ A Chat with Larry Fessenden on Shock till you, September 17, 2007

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