Emily Blunt is the girl who hitches a lift home for the Christmas break. The driver is a young man (Ashton Holmes) who, as it turns out, is really looking forward to spending some time with Miss Blunt. And who can blame him? Well, his passenger can blame him when he takes them along a back road that leads to an accident, leaving them stranded in the cold. The sub-zero temperature is bad enough, but the restless spirits that seem to congregate near their car prove to be even more problematic.
Written by Joe Gangemi and Steven Katz, this is a script that doesn't even name the two main characters. Seriously, they're called Girl and Guy. Thankfully, they seem to have spent more time on the rest of the story, and have paid particular attention to the well-crafted scares and shiver-inducing atmosphere (in terms of both spookiness and physical temperature).
Director Gregory Jacobs does well enough with the basic elements, although there are many times during which the screen feels slightly too dark. Other than that, however, the camerawork seems decent enough, the special effects work well, there's a decent score from Clint Mansell, and there's great use of the song "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree".
Blunt is someone I always tend to like onscreen, and she manages to remain likable here, despite the fact that her character doesn't start off seeming very nice at all. She's quick to complain to the driver about his car, and then spends most of her time talking to someone at the other end of her mobile phone. The script, and Blunt's performance, prevent this behaviour from becoming too annoying, at least until she has genuine reasons to complain. Holmes takes most of this mild abuse in his stride, which becomes easier to understand when his motive becomes clear. He also gives the kind of performance pitched perfectly between sweet and creepy, which allows the movie to twist and turn when things start to wade further into outright horror territory. Martin Donovan is appropriately scary as a nasty Highway Patrolman, and Ned Bellamy is onscreen, seemingly, to pad the running time out by ten minutes or so.
A few people like this more than I did. It's one that I've seen recommended to horror fans every now and again, and most respond well to it. I liked it, and I wanted to like it even more. Unfortunately, that choppy, random middle section just dragged the whole thing down by a couple of points.
Go on, you know you should really buy my e-book, that has almost every review I've written over the past 5 years. It's very reasonably priced for the sheer amount of content.
The UK version can be bought here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395945647&sr=1-3&keywords=movie+guide
And American folks can buy it here - http://www.amazon.com/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395945752&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=TJs+ramshackle+mov
As much as I love the rest of the world, I can't keep up with all of the different links in different territories, but trust me when I say that it should be there on your local Amazon.