A lovelorn creep, a troubled college girl, a malfunctioning car heater, a lack of Google maps, Icy Pop spirits, corrupt lawmen, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
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Two college students share a ride home for Christmas vacation. One, an attractive girl, answers a classmate’s ad on the school ride board. She doesn’t know her traveling partner, a creepy unkempt awkward guy. Facing a severe winter storm, the two travelers take a detour down a snowy rural road and face a lesson that so many horror films have taught us through the years: the countryside will fuck you up. Their vehicle is forced off the road by a mysterious car that coerces them into a dangerous game of chicken. Losing to the ghostly car, they become trapped in an embankment and have to face the long night with little heat, lots of snow, Mel Torme humming carols over the AM radio, and the vengeful spirits of the dead scratching away at the car windows. Because, you see it’s a haunted road. The pair argues about what to do as they face frostbite, starvation, and strangling by phantom hands. Over the long night that ensues, the true nature of their burgeoning relationship begins to unfold as they face harsh elements, an unseen malevolent force, and the tragic legacy of the terrible blood-chilling events that have happened on the country road over the past fifty years.
Initially, Wind Chill starts out with a simple premise: two strangers share a ride and along the way in revealing themselves to each other, they learn more about themselves. The two leads, Emily Blunt (Devil Wears Prada) and Aston Holmes (History of Violence) play out this starting point admirably as two desolately different people come together in a stressful time (ghosts + holidays = stress!). Director Gregory Jacobs (Criminal) focuses on the incendiary relationship between the two during the first hour, revealing the true nature of their relationship, and the end result is satisfying up to the point where they become stranded. Once the car gets pulled over by Casper the Ghostly Sedan Driving Ghost, the film transforms into the cracking little flick so promised by the eerie DVD cover. The tone grows sinister quickly and the pair’s relationship issues take a literal backseat to the spookiness slowing surrounding them. The notable extent to which the two leads have developed makes Wind Chill's success as both an effective drama and a creepy thriller. The only problem with the film is that once it hits its horror stride, it quickly peters out, leaving the mystery of the cursed road to unravel and turn out to be a little predictable as well. Nevertheless, Wind Chill is still an effective ghost story and much better than its non-frozen brethren.