Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wind Chill (2007)

At a glance:
The chill wind whips through the assorted plot holes in this well-acted, entertaining yet flawed thriller/horror film

Our review (with spoilers):
A young college student accepts a ride from an eccentric guy who has been at least partially stalking her. When he takes a snowy shortcut, they are side-swiped by an oncoming car and get stuck in a drift. Soon, other problems arise when they are visited by a parade of ghosts, some of whom are malevolent.

Wind Chill tries to be so many things. It is a weird love story (despite the fact that the guy exhibits some stalker tendencies). It is a thriller, a murder mystery, and a horror story. There’s a bit of philosophy thrown in. Despite its flaws, it’s still a mostly enjoyable, worthwhile film, and this is a credit to the lead actors (Emily Blunt and Ashton Holmes), both of whom are solid in difficult, illogical roles. The supporting cast is also very good.

The girl is a good example of a character written to further the plot. Who is she anyway? She starts as an aloof slackpacker who accepts a ride from a stranger. Her whole attitude is haughty and unconcerned. Then, after he has done nothing other than act a bit eccentric, she starts calling him a psycho. This is not the type of person who should be accepting rides from strangers. And if she truly believes he is a psycho, she should not be telling him she feels that way. She should just get out.

Here are some other nits/illogical behavior:

1)    The guy says he is going to walk back to the gas station, then returns soon after, saying it was closed. It’s obvious that he did not walk all the way there, yet the girl accepts his story. Later, he reveals that he turned back because he was coughing up blood and realized that he would never make it, then didn’t tell her because he didn’t want to worry her. How about telling her so she can walk to the gas station instead?

2)   Ghosts and apparitions sometimes appear in the waking world, sometimes interrupt dreams, sometimes just look and ignore, and other times seem able to actually inflict physical damage.

3)   It is explained how the guy knew the girl was taking the bus to Delaware – he looked at her phone over her shoulder – but how did he get the message to her phone suggesting that she look on the message board? Wouldn’t she have known that this message was from someone else? And it is never explained how he knew all about her favorite foods.

4)   A few hours after they are stuck, the engine dies. The girl looks underneath and sees that the car has been dripping gas from a cracked tank. Gas is really smelly and they have a permanent window open on the car. They would have smelled gas leaking long before this.

Rating: 2 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Despite its failings, Wind Chill represents a road rarely taken by 21st-century American horror films: Original (in the non-remake sense of the term), subtle and restrained."
- Maitland McDonagh (TV Guide's Movie Guide)

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