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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A chilling and desolate psychological piece

Author: Steven Frasher from Redlands, California
10 February 2003

Winter cold in rural Manitoba and a cluttered and claustrophobic living space behind a disused service station set the scene for this unnerving Canadian psychological drama. Maury Chaykin is an under-employed independent tow truck driver without a permit and without means to pay his bills. Everyone in town is creeped out by his disconcerting presence. Driving home in a blizzard Chaykin discovers handsome traveling salesman Paul Gross unconscious in a snowy ditch. What at first looks like a misfit playing good Samaritan turns into a twisted tale when the wounded Gross is presented as a gift to 18-year-old Dolores, played with sweet naivete by Margaret Langrick. Gross, at first grateful for his rescue quickly becomes wary of his odd circumstance, never knowing who, if anyone, he can trust. The neglected and immature Langrick tries to turn on a charm trying to woo the captive Gross. Chaykin is never far away - always menacing - and Gross is always on edge trying not to do the wrong thing to set off his demented host. The turning point, as Gross regains his health, is a birthday party for Dolores in the dreary garage, fueled by flirtatious banter and longing looks from Langrick and too much alcohol. When Langrick suddenly appears to perform an impromptu stage show for the two men Gross is confused, wondering about the daughter's innocence and end up reading the father's enthusiasm entirely wrong. Desperation and divided loyalties drive the taut conclusion. This film sticks with you like a winter chill.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

what can i say...

8/10
Author: LordDwia from Calgary, Alberta Canada
14 July 2002

What can i say... this movie is done very well. The acting is superb, the characters are eerily believable, and the situation is thought provoking and imaginative. This movie goes places we don't like to think about. It does a better job of portraying despair and isolation than any movie i've ever seen.

It will leave you feeling cold, but Hopeful.

Incredible!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Dark and disturbing, Cold Comfort sets you on edge.

Author: amatia from Racine, WI
16 May 1999

Set in Manitoba, a traveling salesman is rescued from a blizzard by the local crazy man, and taken to his house as a present for his daughter for her 18th birthday. Margaret Langrick gives a stunning performance as an 18 year old girl who wants to get away but her father is too domineering and keeps her too far away from other people. Maury Chaykin is totally convincing as the crazy father, by far one of the better "crazy-man" performances I've seen in any movie. Paul Gross is not-quite-innocent as Stephen. The plot becomes very disturbing once you see how nuts the father is. Slight overtones of Stephen King's "Misery" with the foot injury caused by a trap that Floyd sets so Stephen can't run away, and the scenes with Stephen chained to the wall are very effective. All in all, an amazing movie that gives you the shivers, and a sliver of hope

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good flick

Author: Scott Carnegie
17 September 2003

First of all, this film is set in Alberta near Medicine Hat, not Manitoba or Alaska.

I first saw this film in 1990, before "Misery", before "Due South", and I thought it was great. The suspense builds in a natural way as you see Steven get deeper and deeper into trouble and come to realize the kind of person Floyd is.

Great drama, excellent acting. The scene where Steven freaks out on Floyd is some of the most believable anger I've ever seen in a flick.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A strange kind of "Misery"

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
3 April 2010

Remember the old joke about a traveling salesman and the farmer's daughter? Well, this Canadian movie kind of takes the basic premise of that joke and manages to somehow combine it with Stephen King's "Misery" (this movie came out after the novel, but before the official film adaptation). Amazingly though, the whole thing kind of works because it is well-filmed and well-acted, especially by journeyman Canadian character actor Maury Chaykin.

A traveling salesman (Paul Gross) goes off the road in a storm. He is rescued by a weird tow-truck driver (i.e. not actually a farmer) played by Maury Chaykin. The tow-truck driver takes him to his isolated snowbound home where he strangely wants him to be a "birthday present" for his 18-year-old daughter (Margaret Langrick, who had previously appeared as the daughter in the family bigfoot comedy "Harry and the Hendersons"). This, of course, is every traveling salesman's worst nightmare! But the movie ultimately doesn't try for out-and-out horror (which would have immediately turned to camp), but neither is this some "erotic thriller" sex fantasy. Instead it's something more unusual--a very eccentric three character drama. Chaykin is a pretty scary and a very unpredictable character, so it's completely believable that the salesman would have no idea what to do when the daughter starts doing a striptease for him at her birthday party while her drunken father hoots and shines a bright flashlight alternately on her and on him as he watches!

This movie may sound like a sex fantasy turned nightmare (kind of like the 70's exploitation film "Death Game"), but that's not quite accurate. It's more like a sex fantasy suddenly turned real in such a strange, unexpected way that the whole fantasy element is lost and the beleaguered protagonist really has NO IDEA how to react. There is a kind of nightmare element in that the protagonist is injured and held prisoner, but it's not the usual psycho thing. It's a pretty interesting movie actually. Gross is pretty good. Langrick is also good (and has nude scenes). But the best thing here is Chaykin who went on to do some interesting stuff, mostly in Canada, for directors like Atom Egoyan ("The Adjustor", "The Sweet Hereafter"). See this if you have the opportunity.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

creepy, dark, very well done

9/10
Author: primroseburrows from United States
5 January 2007

Very good, very creepy movie. I went into it thinking about Stephen King's Misery (although I've only read the book, not seen the film), but I forgot about it right away. The performances of the three leads are excellent; I've yet to be disappointed in anything Maury Chaykin has done, and here he's fantastic as the psychopathic, insecure Floyd Lucas. Paul Gross, early in his career (I believe this was his first feature film), is already demonstrating the talent that will help him become one of the most popular actors in Canada. I've never seen Margaret Langrick in any other film, but she was very good in her role as Floyd's damaged and conflicted daughter.

The setting is dark and bleak; the small glimpses of comic relief emphasize the creepiness of the story and the desperateness of Stephen's situation. I'm a fan of psychological thrillers; this was a good one. If you don't like claustrophobic and dark, don't see it, but I recommend it to anyone who does and wants to see the genre done right.

Also, as a response to the reviewer before me: the film is set in Alberta, not Alaska, and Stephen Miller is a travelling salesman, not an escaped convict.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Beware this good Samaritan

9/10
Author: ian_bell from United Kingdom
2 June 2010

As the snow gets deeper and the night draws in, local outcast Floyd finds a stranded motorist on the edge of town. Taking the man home to his dilapidated house-cum-farm, Floyd offers the unconscious traveller to his teenage daughter Dolores.

The relief which the waking motorist Stephen feels at being rescued, is quickly replaced by one of growing discomfort and then fear as he realises he is at the mercy of an unbalanced and indeed psychotic man. Starting as it means to go on, the film turns the screw ever tighter on Stephen.

The most fascinating aspect of the film however is not the plight of Stephen, but the peculiar and even bizarre relationship between Floyd and his daughter.

After watching the film I did begin to wonder Is Dolores really Floyd's daughter at all? By taking stranded stranger Stephen back to his house, the suggestion is Floyd is a decent soul. But by then remarking casually to his daughter that, if she doesn't like him, they can 'feed him to the dogs' it is clear Floyd has lost almost any empathy with the outside world.

Dolores, by contrast, is an engaging and attractive girl. Touchingly played by Margaret Langrick, the girl is both excited by the arrival of Stephen, and intrigued by the glimpse of the outer world he offers, a life of hotels, restaurants, women and work.

As the two form a tentative bond, provoking the first stirrings of dangerous jealousy in Floyd, it grows increasingly clear Dolores will try any trick she can to engineer herself away from the rundown house and the isolated existence she lives with her father.

This brings me back to my original question: Is the girl really Floyd's daughter or the victim of an abduction? I did wonder whether Dolores may have arrived at the house in similar circumstances to Stephen; perhaps clutched as a baby from a tourist's car, or snatched from an unsuspecting mother.

The stark backdrop of the icy wilderness and a haunting score, add to the growing unease which director Vac Sarin creates from the opening moments. Few films have ever managed to convey in such compelling fashion the need for human contact.

As threatening and deranged as Floyd is, he is also deeply lonely and lacking in both physical good looks and social graces. He holes himself up in a house miles from anywhere presumably because it is (i) cheap, and (ii) the one place where no-one judges him.

Yet above that loneliness and insecurity simmers a psychotic temper, and a raging jealousy which is determined to keep Dolores by his side and stop Stephen at any cost from reaching outside help.

You want Stephen to escape what quickly becomes a nightmare, and even more for Dolores to somehow find a happy place in life, yet over them both towers the increasingly unstable Floyd.

Adapted by Richard Beattie from the play by James Garrard, the film maintains its tension right to the final moments. A claustrophobic and unsettling psycho-thriller, with winning performances, and an ending of haunting and poetic poignancy.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

best i've seen

10/10
Author: vickimtubridy from Ireland
3 August 2006

i really loved this film it kept my attention all the way through which believe me is hard unless a film is good.Paul Gross is a fine actor. All the parts were played by the perfect people. Enjoy if you buy it i did. Must admit it was the hardest DVD to track down but i eventually found it. Like a lot of Paul gross stuff in order for me to be able to see them i have to buy them on DVD. The only thing i've seen on TV is due south. I don't mind it just means i get to watch them more often. which make me happy. He is a very kind man and looked after me well and was fabulous to my sister so i have a lot of respect for him. i've dealt with a lot of people and no one has been more kind he not only my favorite actor and singer he has shown me why.

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An 18 year old girl gets a strange birthday present from her father!

9/10
Author: Scott Dawson (sdawson@easynet.co.uk)
8 August 1998

Set in Alaska a father living alone with his shy inhibited daughter brings an escaped convict home and takes him as hostage. The hostage and daughter then start to get close to one another upsetting the father. Strange, eerie and isolated.

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1 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

The pits.

1/10
Author: fedor8 from Serbia
16 September 2007

Don't believe any of the other reviews posted here, which are - for some unfathomable reason - all full of praise for this major piece of Dreck.

Another one of those imbecilic films in which an innocent passer-by is kept imprisoned in a house somewhere in the middle of nowhere. This is one of the worst sub-sub-genres of them all. It's bad enough to watch a dumb thriller, but when it's this kind it really doesn't get any worse. This brick-hard bundle of nonsense may be one of the five worst films I've ever seen, and I've seen several thousand - unlike some IMDb reviewers out there who get excited about just about anything. The characterization is straight out of the "Guide For Making Bad Z-Movies". The plot is totally predictable, the motivations of the characters muddled - or most likely non-existent - and there is some rather inept acting. The award-winningly absurd premise includes an 18 year-old girl who never met anyone apart from her fat father and his chained dogs, yet seems cheerful and well-adjusted enough (all things considering). Duh! This kind of plot has been done badly before but this dumbfest redefines how much worse an already idiotic premise can be made if one tries hard enough. Clearly, the effort has been made in that direction, in this case. It isn't hard to "top" this junk - it is practically impossible.

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