Directed by Gregory Jacobs and starring Emily Blunt and Ashton Holmes, Wind Chill is a psychological/paranormal horror that, like its stars, breaks down in the snow and refuses to budge.
Wind Chill moves a mind-numbingly slow pace and delivers a payoff that doesn’t make the time spent watching it feel worth it at all.
The plot surrounds a young female student (Emily Blunt) waiting for her campus ride share which will take her back home for Christmas.
She ends up in the battered car of a male student (Ashton Holmes) who is heading that way too. Instantly her discomfort is clear as his car is filled with all of his possessions having been kicked out of his apartment. However, she is hardly faultless as she is arrogant and rude to him along the way.
His attempts to talk to her fall flat, that is until he makes a few comments that suggest he knows a lot more about her then she does him. Creeped out but desperate for this ride she carries along with him but her suspicions go into overdrive when he takes a side-road insisting it’s a short-cut.
Unlike many other characters, she doesn’t start screaming for help or anything. Instead demanding answers and acting like she is going to kick his ass.
The boy (in the credits they are billed as the boy and the girl – no names) reveals that he is madly in love with her to the point of obsession and concocted this plan to get some alone time with her. He insists he isn’t dangerous but she is far from happy at all.
It turns out though that the boy is the least of the girl’s worries though as a car speeds towards them forcing them off the road. They crash and when they wake, the car won’t start. Then things start to get really strange.
Strange in the sense that the girl sees people walking on the road but they leave no footprints. A police officer turns up and treats them like crap before disappearing and a man vomits up some sort of eel. It builds and builds towards a finale that is nothing but lacklustre. It’s a haunted stretch of road and no-one is coming for the boy and girl.
A bleak watch is made all the bleaker by the cinematography. Snow, lots and lots of snow on a deserted stretch of road with just trees and mountains as a backdrop. It feels cold and isolated making it easier to relate to the two characters suffering. Both Blunt and Holmes are good with the latter not resorting to type. The closeness the pair end up sharing coming across believable.
The initial stalker style story does get turned on its head. Becoming a paranormal mystery and it’s there where the movie drops in quality. Simply put, it stops being interesting. Instead going the well-trodden path of sub-par jump-scares. Whatever atmosphere it built with the tension between the boy and girl is lost. All so random ghosts can pop up and try to shock. It rarely works.
The films big revelation is disappointing and feels unresolved. It may not be that predictable but it’s not satisfying which is a real problem for a movie that drags its feet through the heavy snow for so long.
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