Two ride-sharing & at first very boring college kids (namelessly played by Emily Blunt & Ashton Holmes) are on a five-hour journey toward Delaware in Wind Chill (2007). It's the dead of winter & they've set out in a car that any fool would've suspected wasn't going to make it.
He's a bit of an idiot & rather bland, so it takes a while to care about whatever his fate might turn out to be. She's rude & obnoxious & starts off as a nightmare of a passenger, I'd be tempted to put her out at the first truckstop.
Only when she begins to suspect this fellow -- met off a ride-share bulletin -- may have been stalking her for some while, does any drama arise from their being together in a car.
The ark of the story is obvious & for the first forty-five minute it goes exactly as expected: a shitty car in shitty weather with two shitty people, all they need to do is break down somewhere invisible from the main road & they'll freeze to death. No greater threat of danger is required to make their situation dire.
Why the scriptwriter decided to make both characters so unpleasant for so long I can't guess, since it means for the longest while it really wouldn't matter if they got killed, they're disposable characters.
But very slowly they become humanized, & will in time develop a surprising bond with one another, in their attempt to survive first the natural elements, then the supernatural turns of events.
So they eventually develop real sympathy & their experiences become harrowing for the viewer.
He's still a dipshit with a stupid plan & ignoring her fearful insistance that they stay on the main road, he takes a side-road that in better weather might've been scenic & pleasant. But in winter it means that when they break down, there won't be another car along that road until spring thaw.
His delusion that this trip, cleverly arranged in true stalker fashion, might lead to romance & happy ever after is only slowly shattered.
Her realization that he's been secretly tracking her life for some while & may be dangerously obsessed becomes the least of her troubles when they're freezing in a valley where her phone won't work.
The script milks the realistic trouble they've gotten into, & it would've been a suspenseful film, probably a better film, if this battle with the elements had made up the entire film. But eventually the macabre intrudes when they see a group of deathly monks walking through the night.
The tale goes supernaturally mysterious as the story of the death of the unhelpful monk-ghosts unfolds alongside the story of a psychotic cop-ghost reenacting the crimes he committed years before.
Each winter round about Christmas he has taken additional victims just as he had done in life, but no one suspected the unlucky stretch of road had a ghost-psycho, only that every year someone else froze to death when cars break down.
The story tumbles awkwardly toward the close, as the psycho ghost cop makes it all rather cheezy, with sundry zombie-ghosts of his past victims performing such idiot schtick as spitting up a giant worm as the epitome of juvenile B-S scriptwriting. It's a lot tackier than it is eerie.
A fine actor in other roles, Martin Donovan, appears here as the psycho ghost cop.
I'd really hoped he'd make up for the blandness of the lead cast. But he does an awful job with the awful script. Any hulking dufus fresh out of a junior college drama class could've played this.
The role in no way required a quality actor, & Donovan seems not even to be trying to invest the performance with more than was in the script. It's tragic to see a fine actor reduced to this.
The "revelation" of psycho ghost cop's full story & the unholy improbable deed that doomed the souls of the monks makes for a very silly tale not nearly as terrifying as the initial tale of the natural elements.
But at the very end there's a coda about a "good" ghost that I won't outline as it would be too big a spoiler, but I kind've liked how it finally came down, so there's more than half of a good film here.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl