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
So, did your parents do the whole traditional family Christmas?
No, my grandparents are Dutch. So I was raised on salted licorice and Sinterklaus.
How is that different from regular Santa Claus?
Well, instead of the North Pole, he lives in Spain and instead of elves, he's got this enforcer named Black Pete. So he's basically like your Santa Claus, only scarier.
[drops voice on "scarier"]
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A Somewhat Tedious But Well-Scripted Film of Isolation
A boy and a girl (whose names are never revealed) share a car ride home to Delaware, which is strange once you realize no film in history has ever taken place in Delaware. Luckily, they get stranded on the roadside and don't make it there, saving us the chance of this being the first film to take place there. But the stranding was just the beginning -- ghostly figures live in the woods and the girl slowly learns the guy is not who he says he is.
I have to hand it to the creators of this film. Gregory Jacobs is a relatively new director (though he has helped on many projects) and Joe Gangemi is a new writer. Steven Katz also co-wrote this film, but hasn't written any screenplay since 2000's "Shadow of the Vampire" (which was quite good, for the record). Being new doesn't hamper these guys -- they put together a tight picture.
The writing is much stronger than the plot or directing, I have to say. I enjoyed the plot of the boy's mysterious background (this alone could have carried the film), but the ghosts and the violent cop just weren't all that interesting to me. I enjoyed the isolated car story much better in "Penny Dreadful". The dialog was astoundingly incredible. I could have listened to these two talk about pointless things for hours. The inclusion of Nietzsche's eternal recurrence was a nice touch, and actually ties in to the plot. As a philosophy major, that tugged at my heartstrings.
The guy was a decent actor, but the real star here is Emily Blunt. You might know her name, and you're familiar with her if you've seen "The Devil Wears Prada" (I haven't). Miss Blunt has several projects in 2007 and 2008, and I'm not surprised -- she is a dynamic actress that is both talented and beautiful. And not the dainty type of beauty Hollywood likes, but a more powerful brand.
The film is a bit tedious and drags in the second half. Things get repetitive (hence the eternal recurrence) and the ghosts aren't really all that interesting. The cop is bland, the priest is just mildly intimidating and the black man who coughs up an eel is not nearly as creepy as it could have been. I mean, he's coughing up an eel -- that should have been the highlight of the film, but it was just a quick scene.
I'm glad I saw this one. It had solid writing and a nice dynamic between the two leads. I was expecting the music to be better, with the score being done by the same man who composed the score for "The Fountain" but I was instead treated to bad Christmas songs. I've had enough of Christmas movies and music. But, I suppose it's better than Creed or Rush. If you're curious, pick this one up. It's not a bad beer and pizza movie, though you could probably do better.
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