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
For Christmas break, a bitchy college girl (Emily Blunt) is in desperate need of a ride home to Delaware. When a classmate (Ashton Holmes) overhears this, he puts up an ad on the school's billboard since he has a crush on her. She winds up taking the ride, but it soon becomes obvious that he's a tad bit obsessed with her. Naturally, this leads to a tense atmosphere for the long drive home, so he takes a shortcut. While heading down this lonely road, they're involved in an accident which leaves them stranded in the snow. With no one around to help and the cold reaching below zero temperatures, their situation isn't exactly enviable. It becomes even less so when they realize that this isolated stretch of road is haunted by unsettling apparitions, one of which is quite dangerous.
I've been extremely fond of Emily Blunt ever since I first saw her in 2004's "My Summer of Love". Aside from being a stellar talent, she's a stunning girl and infinitely charming. The film is worth seeing just for her, but her co-star, Ashton Holmes, is much better here than he was in "A History of Violence". I found him so annoying in that film, but here, he was actually likable. What a shock!
The film is definitely creepy at times. Thankfully, no weak jump scares either. It's all built up subtly through mood, atmosphere and shadows. There's one especially effective scene about halfway through. You'll know it when you see it, but I'll just say it reminded me of a similarly unnerving scene from Wes Craven's underrated "The Serpent and the Rainbow".
I was thrilled to see Clint Mansell's name in the opening credits, as I knew right away that the film would have a particularly strong score. It did wonders for the film's tone, and especially shone through during the ending. Speaking of which, the ending is somewhat on the weak side. It seemed too simple, and the connection between these two characters wasn't strong enough to support it. Actually, they're pretty much at odds with each other for the majority of the picture, so there's hardly a connection at all. It speaks volumes about the power of Mansell's score, as it manages to give the ending a feeling of emotional weight where there otherwise would be none.
In spite of the film's closing moments, this deserved a wider release. The scenes on the deserted road are effective and moody, while Blunt has talent to burn. It isn't perfect, but it's a good little film with more to offer than some of the filth that hits 3000+ screens nationwide. Think of it as a sort of ghost story by way of urban legend, which is supported by the characters just being referred to as "Boy" and "Girl" in the closing credits.
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