SNO BABIES (2020)
Starring Katie Kelly, Paola Andino, Michael Lombardi, Shannan Wilson, Niko Terho, Myles Clohessy, Ken Arnold, Dominic Costa, Molly Logan Chase, Abbey Hafer, Meryl Jones Williams, Jane Stiles, Evangeline Young, Greg Nutcher, Gemma McIlhenny, Corrie Graham, Joanne Baron, Brian Gallagher, Booch O’Connell, Vann Barrett and Gabi Faye.
Screenplay by Michael Walsh.
Directed by Bridget Smith.
Distributed by Better Noise Entertainment. 109 minutes. Not Rated.
Despite its slightly exploitation-film-sounding title, Sno Babies is not a wild and wacky romp about sexy ski instructors. Nor is it a sweet family drama about adorable Alaskan tykes (or even puppies). Actually, it is much more serious than those ideas, it is a dark treatise on drug addiction (specifically heroin, with a side of oxycodone) amongst teenagers.
It’s not exactly the world’s newest storyline. Hell, Frank Sinatra dealt with heroin addiction 65 years ago with The Man with the Golden Arm and there have been numerous other films about uncontrollable drug use going back to the beginning of motion pictures. However, there is a reason that filmmakers keep going back to the subject; it is almost inevitably a fascinating, horrifying thing to see.
In old carnivals, they used to have a sign that they put on their most disturbing, scary exhibits: “This is a dark ride.” Well, Sno Babies is a very, very dark ride. It can be hard to sit through. It is not the kind of movie you watch for enjoyment. However, it has important things to say. Their Twitter hashtag is #LetsSaveLives, and hopefully it can.
Kristen (Katie Kelly) and Hannah (Paola Andino) are life-long best friends in the Philly suburbs. They are pretty, popular, smart, and good students, seniors in high school. Their college future spread in front of them like a tempting dream. However, that dream becomes a mirage in a moment for both of them, when they allow boys, they are interested in to talk them into trying a drug. (Oxycodone for Kristen, heroin for Hannah.)
Months later, both of them are essentially heroin addicts, trying to hide their habit from friends and family as they are shooting up in private. Hannah becomes despondent when she finally gives her virginity to the guy who got her hooked and he immediately ghosts her. Kristen becomes pregnant when a boy date rapes her when she is too high to fight back.
Therefore, Kristen must not only hide her drug habit from her distracted parents, she also must hide the fact that she is having a baby. The only people who know are Hannah, and a tutor who is helping Kristen try to get clean. Also, a young couple who crosses her paths through looking for a house with her real estate agent mom figures out her secret. The couple has been trying to get pregnant fruitlessly for years and the woman thinks that maybe she can adopt Kristen’s child if she is not ready to keep it, but things turn out to be much more complicated than they realize.
In many ways Sno Babies is a tragic, horrifying movie. Also, I am not a squeamish person, but the segments when the girls find stealthy ways of shooting up are tough to take.
Like most drug stories, there is some tragedy and some bittersweet triumph.
The idea of one character using her experience of surviving drugs and eventually becoming a social media celeb by doing anti-drug speeches has its heart in the right place but feels a tiny bit trivial after the dark experiences of the film. She went through so much and survived hell just to eventually get Instagram likes? I know she’s doing what she can to spread the anti-drug word, but it seems a little anticlimactic.
However, Sno Babies is a real eye-opener, a dark and sometimes hopeful look at addiction and life after recovery. It feels like real life, and that is one of the best things you can say about a film.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2020 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 29, 2020.