Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cold fear

Wind Chill is a little-seen but worthy fright flick.

Genre: Horror
Director: Greg Jacobs
DVD released: Sept. 4, 2007
Cast: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan
Verdict: &&&

Cold isolation pervades not just in setting but also in the two principal characters for much of Wind Chill, a George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh-produced horror film that saw limited theatrical release in April. At the winter break, a college student (Emily Blunt) catches a ride toward home with a classmate she doesn't know (Ashton Holmes). They get off to an icy start that only worsens as he makes strange statements and takes a turn off the highway onto a scenic route. It's a classically stupid horror film move that ends in the two becoming stranded on the side of a haunted stretch of road where past highway horrors still stir. As darkness sets in, the two struggle to keep from freezing to death and become increasingly aware that they are not alone in the remote countryside. Further complicating their fate are his injuries and an unfriendly highway patrolman. As the situation deteriorates, relations between the two begin to thaw, and a sweet love story emerges from the overriding chill. My viewing partner, who is often harder to please than I, couldn't sit still during some of the scenes, much to my surprise. The movie genuinely chills on several occasions, making excellent use of Brenda Lee's song "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," as it effectively builds a sense of isolation and desperation. But, while this better-than-average horror movie is a worthy rental, it ultimately feels a bit slight in plot and originality that could have warmed a heartier recommendation. // DVD NOTES // The disc offers commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

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