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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 22.73%
Pretty Bad: 9.09%
Total Crap: 4.55%

2 reviews, 10 user ratings

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Wind Chill
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by brianorndorf

"I'll take a half-assed ghost story over 'Saw" anytime"
3 stars

Even with the picture’s diamond pedigree, “Wind Chill” is still a horror film at the heart of it all. Trouble is, it’s not an assertive, smothering experience many audiences are used to, dare I say asking for these days. It’s a chilling (in more ways than one) ghost story propelled on that rarest of fuel: suspense.

Looking for a ride home during the holidays, a young college student (Emily Blunt, “The Devil Wears Prada”) meets up with a quirky guy (Aston Holmes, “Peaceful Warrior”) for a “ride share” through the snowy countryside. The two do not get along, but once a shortcut results in an accident in the middle of nowhere, the duo struggle together to survive the night. Between their anger, the winter snap, and menace from a phantom highway patrol officer (Martin Donovan), this innocent detour could be their last.

Executive produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, “Wind Chill” isn’t some tacky, cardboard horror diversion. Written by Joe Gangemi and Steven Kate, the film nearly plays as a stage presentation, with heavy emphasis on streams of dialogue and tightly contained conflict. It’s a verbose film intended to bring the audience into the film through the characters, not the artificial promise of mayhem.

Director Gregory Jacobs (“Criminal”) is very successful at setting up the tension. Using frosty, snowbound locations and long stretches of white road, the filmmaker gooses the ominous nature of the car ride outstandingly. Certain lies are revealed during the travel period, also used to keep the suspense in the air. Is the girl (character names are never revealed) in danger? Is the boy a threat or just a lovestruck imbecile with very bad luck? I was with “Wind Chill” when it kept to this air of uncertainty, adoring the arm’s length sense of play Jacobs depicts well.

Once the action hits the post-accident section of the script, Jacobs strains to keep the film on track. “Wind Chill” degrades into a ghost story, looking to bend the tension toward something John Carpenter might’ve toyed with in 1981. It’s has the walking dead, angry poltergeists, and enough vague concepts of payoff to fill a football stadium.

If “Wind Chill” ever reached a focal point, I wasn’t aware of it. There are some unsettling moments of fright contained within the picture as the girl deals with the psychological torment inside a car for the long, cold night. Mother Nature also provides a kick in the pants every time someone steps outside. The terrors of snow and ice are such fascinating concepts - the drain of life that is both slow and unstoppable – it almost seems disrespectful to cram in spirits and other “Twilight Zone” appetizers just to shape the film into something familiar and marketable.

The villain of “Wind Chill,” not to mention the entire concept of the final act, slips away from Jacob’s good sense. Even with a ridiculous explanation thrown in at the end of the picture to salvage the threat, I just wasn’t interested. “Wind Chill” becomes earthbound when it pinpoints the danger. Leaving it inside the mind, or challenging the limitations of the human body, is far more interesting. Still, “Wind Chill” deserves a merit badge for even trying to tell a horror story without resorting to tired and amateurish shock value. The picture’s puzzle might not piece together properly, but the effort is appreciated.

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originally posted: 05/04/07 15:32:26
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell low key but creepy & well made kinda sad to 4 stars
5/09/08 shashank Good 4 stars
4/03/08 Alyssa It's sort of bad because of the plot, but it's creepy and the acting was really good. 4 stars
3/21/08 Gin pretty good...kinda slow,but really picks up 4 stars
9/05/07 rahul itz not bad.. 3 stars
8/29/07 Mr. B Good watch until the ending just abruptly spoiled everything. Don't bother. 2 stars
8/21/07 Laurentiu Ilie could be better, nasty ending 3 stars
7/19/07 William Goss Moderately eerie low-key spooker boasts prime performance from Blunt, with help from Holmes 4 stars
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  27-Apr-2007 (R)
  DVD: 04-Sep-2007



Directed by
  Greg Jacobs

Written by
  Joe Gangemi
  Steven Katz

  Ashton Holmes
  Emily Blunt
  Ned Bellamy
  Martin Donovan
  Chelan Simmons

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