In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.
Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days.
A couple of college students known only as the Girl and the Guy are traveling home to Delaware the day before Christmas Eve. They're on a frozen road that the Guy is convinced is a scenic short-cut. In the middle of nowhere in below freezing conditions they are run off the road by a hit and runner. They soon realize they're caught in a supernatural bubble where a crime from 1953 is doomed to repeat itself, year after year threatening new victims. The Guy attempts to walk back to the last petrol station but his wounds from the crash are worse than he let on. Written by
2007's "Wind Chill" is a mystery/horror film about a college gal (Emily Blunt) sharing a 6-hour ride with a male student (Ashton Holmes) home to Delaware from Pennsylvania. The guy is supposed to be a stranger but it turns out he knows more about her than anticipated. The story takes a tragic ghostly turn when they get stranded on Route 606 in the bitter evening cold.
I should point out right away that "Wind Chill" is inexplicably rated 'R'; there's really nothing in the film that should warrant such a rating -- there's no sex, very little cussing (realistic, not overkill) and hardly any gore. If you want that see "Cabin Fever" or "Friday the 13th." "Wind Chill" shoots for something more profound, haunting and classy, like "The Mothman Prophecies".
The film is what I would call an "isolated environment" movie wherein the main characters are stuck in a confined situation for the better part of the picture, like in "Prey" where a woman and her two stepkids are stuck in a jeep fending off lions or "The Mist" where the characters are barricaded in a supermarket from the onslaught of otherworldly creatures. This scenario tended to work against those films as the confined setting became tedious (although "The Mist" redeems itself with one of the most unforgettable, awe-inspiring climaxes in film history) (and I still think "Prey" is worth catching for nature-runs-amok enthusiasts). By contrast, the confined setting somehow works in "Wind Chill." How so? I would chalk it up to great writing, acting and movie-making.
Think about it, there are essentially only two characters in this entire 91-minute film. For it to work it HAS to have stellar casting, writing and acting. It dawned on me while watching that "Wind Chill" is largely a dialogue-driven picture; the banter between the two protagonists pulled me in and sustained my interest, which isn't easy seeing as how "isolated environment" movies tend to try the viewer's patience & interest by their very nature.
Emily Blunt is easy on the eyes (what an understatement) but comes off a bit witchy and therefore unattractive initially, yet this plays into what the film is really about. Isn't this a mystery/horror flick? Yes, but the ghostly trappings are merely a stage for a tale of redemption. Unfortunately redemption always has a hefty price tag, not to mention love must fit into the mix somewhere. So, at its core, "Wind Chill" is a mystery chiller of love and redemption. Who it is that needs redeemed and why I'll leave to you to figure out, as well as who pays the price.
The score is awe-inspiring, in particular the piece at the beginning and end (and during the credits).
Although the story takes place in the East the film was shot in British Columbia. These are great locations, of course, but I'm starting to weary of the fact that 90% of these types of flicks are shot in B.C. Incidentally, the tale obviously occurs in Eastern Pennsylvania in light of a reference to Harrisburg on the radio and the I-476 highway sign (I-476 runs North-to-South from Scranton to Philadelphia).
I have a couple of cavils: When they're stranded on the country road it never looks nearly as cold as it's supposed to be, and is it believable that any college student, let alone a hot babe, would know about the junction box and phone jack on top of a telephone pole?
CONCLUSION: The average person who has a taste for this type of moody, spooky picture will conclude that "Wind Chill" is a classy chiller, what ushers it into the realm of greatness is its underlying profundities, stellar cast, writing, acting, music, locations and just all-around magical movie-making. For all these reasons "Wind Chill" is a pleasure to behold.
GRADE: Borderline B+ or A-
***ENDING SPOILER*** The climax, as told in Chapter 28, strikes a potent emotional chord as the girl stumbles out of the dark woods after a night of literal hell; she comes across the gas station, which links her to the authorities and salvation. Yet this is a much different woman than at the start of the picture; her life will never be the same as she is changed forever, changed for the good. She realizes this and can't hold back the tears. You can see it on her face; she understands the price that was paid for this new life. Emily Blunt pulls the scene off expertly; in fact, everything about the finale is filmmaking of the finest expertise. Magnificent.
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