A kitsch throwback to ’50s aliens movies that comes with a sledghammer contempo message about the horrific consequences of war, Elio Quiroga’s “The Cold Hour” looks and sounds good and has great atmospherics, but that’s about it. Featuring a clutch of post-apocalypse survivors hiding terrified from an unspecified enemy, pic is shot through with symbolism that’s at once confused and obvious, and which strangles any psychological or dramatic nuance. “Hour” seems destined for a chilly welcome away from specialty fests.
A war has split humanity into infectious zombies and a handful of survivors — though there are also mysterious, icy CGI creatures who give the pic its title. Survivors include leader Maria (Silke), former lover of Pedro (Jorge Casalduero), now with Pablo (Julio Perillan). This generates an uninteresting plotline. Orphan Jesus (Omar Munoz) shoots video footage of them all. Lensing makes good use of the set’s confined spaces and shadowy corners, but dramatically things don’t take off until the team leaves to seek out the aliens. Pic makes terrific use of jazz standards and of barely credible, unnerving footage from ’40s and ’50s U.S. Defense Dept. films.