wind chill | gregory jacobs | joe gangemi | steven katz | emily blunt | ashton holmes | martin donovan | ghost | ghosts | haunted | curse | adventure | drama | thriller | united kingdom | united states | ned bellamy | ian a. wallace | donny lucas | chelan simmons
Film: Wind Chill
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Writer: Joe Gangemi and Steven Katz
Starring: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes and Martin Donovan
This is a movie that I don’t remember coming out. I first heard about it on a podcast I believe around Christmas time. This features snow and is about a couple of college kids going home for break. I knew there were some ghosts, but I didn’t remember a lot of what was said on the show. To get into this, the synopsis is two college students share a ride home for the holidays, but when they break down on a deserted stretch of road, they’re preyed upon by the ghosts of people who have died there.
For this movie, we are seeing our main girl in class. She goes by girl in the credits and played by Emily Blunt. She is texting someone on her phone about almost being done. She needs to find a way home for Christmas and her currently plan is to take a bus. Whoever she is texting tells her to check the ride board to see if anyone is heading that way. Oddly enough, she finds a flier for someone who is heading to Delaware for the break as well.
She follows up with the person and it is Ashton Holmes. That is his real name, but the credits have him as guy. She is almost two hours late and he’s fallen asleep waiting. When she goes to put her suitcase in the car, it is full of his stuff. It appears he is kicked out of his apartment and looks like he is moving back. She takes some things out and can get her stuff in. We see though a bag is left in the parking lot.
Their journey isn’t great. The passenger door sticks and the window won’t go all the way up. As they hit the road, she is on the phone with a friend and this annoys him. He wants her to talk to him while he’s driving to make the time pass. She is quite rude, despite what he is doing here to help her out.
The first creepy thing that happens is when they stop at a gas station. She goes into the bathroom, but when she goes to leave, the door won’t open. She can hear the guy through a vent and calls out for help. No one can seem to hear her though. She does finally get out and yells at him. He is confused by her being mad. It appears that he couldn’t hear her like she thought. The clerk also tells them to not get off the highway.
Of course, our guy does that. Instead of sticking to it, he takes a scenic route of 606. This is a lane and half of plowed road. She yells at him to not take this way, but he informs her it is a shortcut. Things take a turn when a car is coming the opposite way. They don’t stop and clip our car, causing them to crash into a snow embankment. When they come to, they can’t get the car free. She is quite upset about the situation they are in, especially since it could have been avoided.
Our guy tries to go back to the gas station, but comes back quickly, telling her it was closed. This confuses her as they are normally open 24 hours. There are more things that don’t add up, making her suspicious. There are more pressing matters. Their crash caused gas to leak out. They have no heat and a winter storm is coming. There are darker things in the night though. She sees a priest, Ian A. Wallace, as well as a highway patrolman, Martin Donovan. She thinks he is trying to shake them down and in on it with the car that took them off the road. There is a much darker past though about this stretch of road.
That should be enough for the recap of this story. Where I’ll start is that this is an interesting premise we have here. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere in the cold is terrifying. It is even more so when you might be dealing with something supernatural like ghosts. Before I get into that though, I think I should start with breaking down our two leads.
First will be our girl. I think that Blunt does an excellent job with this character. She brings enough snark that we need for her. She comes off as having money, but not necessarily rich. She is attractive and she knows it. We can see that as she bullies our guy around while in the car. What I do like though is that she is also smart and resourceful. There is part of me that worried about her, especially as things get revealed about who she is riding with. A woman cannot be too careful and it is sad that is something people need to think about. She is getting a ride from a guy she doesn’t know that much about.
He will be where I go next. What pains me about things I’m saying is that in my youth, he is me. I’ll admit I’ve been creepy in the past where I’ve put myself in situations like this by listening to someone, I have a crush on. Is it right? No, I do acknowledge that. I like to think that as I’ve gotten older and listened to women in my life, I’ve corrected those behaviors. With that said, he is still a sweet guy. It just comes off a bit stalkerish. The two of them bond once they’re stranded so that does make up for some of that. The more we reveal about him, the more I thought he might be in on things that are happening. I do think that Holmes performance helps to redeem it, as he does save the girl when she is in peril. He also pays a heavy price for his decisions as well.
With both out of the way, I want to delve into this stretch of road and the supernatural implications here. The girl goes out to use the bathroom and notices the priests. She tries to get them to help her, but they ignore her. The bigger threat is the highway patrolman. He is quite stern and forceful with the girl. We see what leads to that as well. I like this set up. Where I grew up, we have an overpass for a train that is thought to be haunted. This premise made me think of that. The difference is that we have this stretch of road, it needs to be a certain time of year and it involves snow. The night becomes a nightmare to survive. I even like that there is a nearby house that burned down and we get some back-story filled in from a newspaper there.
The problem I have with this, it doesn’t fully come together for me. There are some leaps with logic that need to be made. I can work with it being cursed because people died here and a vengeful spirit is forced to relive their lives like Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence. I just feel we needed a bit more there. The movie is leading toward some concepts, but they don’t fully realize it. It feels there are some things introduced to throw you off, but that feels like a cheat for me.
That should be enough for the story. I’ve already said my piece on the leads, so I’ll briefly go into the supporting cast. Donovan is an actor that when I see him, I at once think villain. I feel bad, but it always seems to be the case. He plays it fine. Ned Bellamy is good as a snowplow driver. What I like about him is that we first meet him at the gas station. I don’t trust him, even though he doesn’t do anything. Wallace was creepy as the priest. We get a cameo by Chelan Simmons who I like as well. I’d say the cast for the most part is solid across the board.
Then the final things to go into would be the effects, cinematography and soundtrack. For the former we don’t get a lot of them. The movie decides for the most part, the ghosts look like normal people. I think this adds to the creepy level, because are characters are trapped in the elements and this gives them hope to be helped. We don’t know if they’re real or can be trusted. There is a good part of this as well that could be in the character’s mind. They were in an accident. There is a bit of CGI, but it works for what they were using it for. I think the cinematography helps with the ideas. It is shot well. I also enjoy getting the back-story through flashbacks. It works with the fuzzy focus. It also feels extremely cold which adds to the tension for me. Other than that, I soundtrack fit for what was needed, especially the use of the Christmas music.
In conclusion here, I think we have a good set up and premise for this movie. We get introduced to our two characters, at once wonder if we can trust one of them. They are then stranded in the elements. I don’t know if everything fully comes together though. That was an issue. I like the idea of this haunted stretch of highway. The acting from the leads is good and the rest of the cast is fine. How this was shot is solid and the effects add to the feel. I think the soundtrack also adds to what they needed. For me though, I think this is just lacking a bit. I would say this is a movie that is over average and just misses for me to go higher.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10