Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: Whiteout is not a horror movie. Anyone who's read the 1998 mini-series/graphic novel (or the follow-up, Whiteout: Melt) knows it's a murder mystery. The ad campaign, however, makes the film seem like it's a supernatural creature feature or some such, along the lines of John Carpenter's The Thing. It's not.
It is, however, a pretty terrible movie.
US Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is about to end her tenure at a research post in Antarctica- she sought the harsh, remote clime after her time with the Miami PD came to a bloody, abrupt end. Days before she's to ship out to the states, however, a body is found on the ice. Signs point to homicide, and as Stetko gets her detective on, more bodies pile up.
There's not much that Whiteout gets right, and it becomes obvious rather quickly why Dark Castle/Warner Brothers have kept it on a shelf for two years. Greg Rucka (who wrote the comic but, interestingly, not the screenplay- it took four other writers to do that) is rather known for his strong (and flawed) female characters, and on the page, Carrie Stetko is no exception. Here, she's given to exclaiming "Oh my God!" repeatedly as she bumbles her way through her investigation. Most puzzling- and, to an extent, infuriating- is the fact that we're introduced to her via a lengthy, completely gratuitous shower scene. The camera lingers on Kate Beckinsale's underwear-clad ass as she bends over, then we watch her stand on tiptoes in the steam so long that the audience starts giggling. Though it's far too obvious and silly a sequence, it might make a little sense if Stetko were at all sexualized throughout the rest of the film- but she's not. There's no romance, and nothing erotic or sensual about the character otherwise. "Degrading" is almost an appropriate word to use to describe it, but not in the sense of that age-old (and usually erroneous) "nudity in horror degrades women argument"- rather, it's degrading to the character. Beckinsale's wooden performance doesn't help, although she's not given much to work with.
Whiteout feels like a film that was made for the visually impaired- characters continually describe exactly what it is they're doing at the moment. Add to that flashback after flashback after descriptions of flashbacks we've seen as we see the flashbacks again, and the film becomes a dull, never-ending mobius strip of suck. When the words SIX MONTHS LATER flashed on screen at one point, I was sure it was real-time and half a year had gone by since I'd sat down. Six months is a long time, and so is ninety minutes- spend your ticket money on the comic books if you want entertainment.
While Whiteout isn't at all what the trailers convince you it is, Sorority Row totally is. Neither really good nor really bad, it's brainless horror movie fun, far more in line with I Know What You Did Last Summer than the source material- although there's one very subtle, sort of clever, blink and you'll miss it nod to the original.
It's a decent date movie- a few scares, a few laughs, some blood, some vicious kills, and an under-utilized Carrie Fisher...just like the trailers promised. Truth in advertising FTW!