Hey, remember that movie called Wind Chill? Sure you do. Came out in April of '07. On 42 screens. Grossed under $35,000 in total. Yeah, that one. Sony really got behind this little chiller, didn't they? No. No they did not. To be fair, though, it's probably a pretty tough sell: A two-character thriller that takes place almost entirely inside of a car that's wedged into a snowbank? Starring Emily Blunt and Ashton Holmes?
So yeah, I guess it makes sense if you haven't heard much about Wind Chill so far, but that's the coolest thing about the DVD age. Half-decent "little" movies get a second chance at life on the video store shelves. And while I'm not expecting any sort of "cult following" groundswell to appear for Wind Chill, I'm guessing that a large percentage of the horror fans who dig "the psychological approach" will find something to appreciate here. At the very least, it's an old-fashioned ghost story with half a brain -- and that's got to be worth more than a casual glance.
Helmed by second-timer Gregory Jacobs (Criminal) and produced by his longtime bosses Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, Wind Chill feels a lot like a stage play that's been adapted for the screen -- but not a bad little play all the same. The story is a simple one: Bitchy college student shares a holiday season ride with a subtly strange young man. Bickering leads to an accident, the accident leads to some strange visions, and then the ghosts come out to play.
The "translated stage play" feeling comes from Jacobs' reliance on two things: the in-car claustrophobia and the eerily effective frostiness. Like the two characters or not, these guys are cold enough to make the temperature (or lack thereof) feel like its own character. And given that we only have two characters to deal with, it's a really good thing that Jacobs hired these two folks. Ms. Blunt you know from her fantastic supporting performance in The Devil Wears Prada, and Holmes you know as the son from A History of Violence. They're both quite excellent here, creating a pair of characters who are at once slightly irritating and strangely likable.
By the time the atmospheric little flick draws to a close, you probably won't get the feeling you're watching some unique or revolutionary. And you're not. But as a perfectly watchable Friday night chiller flick, you could absolutely do a whole lot worse than Wind Chill.