Sometimes a quiet Christmas is the best way to go in Better Watch Out!.
That “other” holiday season is here, the one that doesn’t involve jack-o-lanterns, witches and goblins, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some chills and thrills. I tried to add some variety here, so, not all of them are classics…and not all strictly horrors…though A Christmas Carol IS a ghost story after all. Here are fifteen flicks to add some chills and thrills to your ho ho holidays!
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A ride share home during the Christmas holidays turns cold and deadly in Wind Chill!
WIND CHILL (2007)
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A young woman (Emily Blunt) takes a ride share with another student (Ashton Holmes) on her way home from college on Christmas break. The pair are off to a rocky start, especially when he takes a side road off the main highway and through the woods. The two are run off the narrow road by an oncoming driver and are now stranded deep in the woods and in deep snow. That’s not the worst of the girl’s problems, as not only is she suspicious of her driver’s true intentions, but there may be something unnatural lurking in those bitter cold woods.
Flick is directed by Gregory Jacobs from a script by Joe Gangemi and Steven A. Katz. The movie starts out interestingly enough with Blunt’s unnamed young woman, being suspicious of Holmes’ unnamed young man, as his conversations with her reveal he has not been honest with his fellow student. As the film progresses and they are trapped together in the stranded car, with no heat, no food, no water and in extreme cold, we start to learn more and more about his true intentions. It’s enough to give this film tension and make it a bit unsettling as it is. Jacobs and the writers then add a supernatural element with mysterious figures lurking in the woods and a few corpses, both animated and not. It’s all very spooky and adds an interesting caveat with stalker-ish guy and snooty girl bonding over mutual fear and concern. Aside from a few briefly seen supporting players, this is a two person show and both perform well. Blunt is strong as the somewhat difficult yet likable “Girl” and Holmes is appropriately a little off as the “Guy” who lies his way into a ride with the pretty student from his class. If anything holds this unnerving little movie back a bit, it’s that it takes a while to “warm up” and sympathize with our lead characters, with him being an awkward stalker and she difficult and rude to him, even before she starts to suspect their ride comes with ulterior motives. While ambiguous for quite some time, we do start to get clues as to what is going on here supernaturally. It is satisfying and spooky in a Twilight Zone kind of way, but at the same time, a little disappointing considering the build-up had us expecting something a bit more bizarre. It still works and effectively portrayed, even if familiar.
Overall, this is an enjoyably spooky flick even if what it turns into is something a little more routine than we hoped for. It is still well done and our leads help us overcome somewhat negative characters to like and sympathize with them. The film is shot nicely, with good use made of the wintery woodland locations and it has some nice atmosphere without relying on violence or gore to give us the chills. Flick is currently streaming free on Crackle, or as a cheap rental on Amazon Prime. Supporting cast includes Ned Bellamy, Martin Donovan and Chelan Simmons.
Rated 3 (out of 4) rolls of duct tape, which adds sealing malfunctioning car windows to it’s 1001 uses.