Thursday, May 26, 2022

#2,759. Wind Chill (2007) - Winter Horror 4-Pack


Director Gregory Jacobs Wind Chill is in a way a frustrating horror movie; there are a handful of creepy scenes, and the set-up isn’t without potential. But in the end, it all seemed far too routine, and it failed to distinguish itself from other run-of-the-mill supernatural films.

A college student (Emily Blunt) is looking for a ride home for the holidays, and on the college’s bulleting board spots a leaflet offering a lift to anyone heading to Delaware. She decides to take a chance and answer the ad, and eventually discovers that the driver (Ashton Holmes) offering the ride is in her same Philosophy class.

With a snowstorm approaching, the two hit the road, and after a brief stop at a small gas station / convenience store, the driver veers off the highway onto a back road, promising the student that it’s a shortcut. But a near-accident leaves them stranded in a snow bank, and as the student is busy trying to figure out why the driver knows so much about her personal life, the two realize they are trapped in a bizarre supernatural world, where ghostly visions and the spirit of a corrupt highway patrolman (Martin Donovan), who died 50 years ago along this same stretch of road, make the sub-zero temperatures seem even colder.

Produced by (among others) Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, Wind Chill starts off as a psychological thriller, with Emily Blunt’s bitchy-as-hell college student (she’s really unlikable early on) fearing that she may have hitched a ride with a stalker (he somehow knew that she wears glasses, which she has never done in public).

This storyline, which never really picks up any steam, eventually gives way to supernatural elements, and it’s at this point Wind Chill offers up a few decent scares; the student’s run-in with a guy she spots walking through the snow is especially creepy. But while the psychological cat-and-mouse game between the student and the driver (nobody has a name in this movie) is left underexplored, the ghosts and specters roaming the woods are given a bit too much screen time, and as a result they eventually lose their effectiveness (even the big reveal at the end, when we witness a flashback to the tragedy that kicked off these ethereal events, proved to be a story twist we’ve seen before).

Wind Chill isn’t without its strong points. The performances are good (especially Blunt, who we don’t like at first but eventually warm up to); the central mystery of the haunted woods is, for a while, intriguing; and as mentioned above there are moments scattered throughout that will have your heart pounding. Unfortunately, it’s all too familiar, and even at a scant 90 minutes Wind Chill feels too long, wearing out its welcome well before the end credits roll.
Rating: 5 out of 10

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