Thursday, December 8, 2016

Claustrophobia

Wind Chill (2007): written by Joseph Gangemi and Steven Katz; directed by Gregory Jacobs; starring Emily Blunt (Girl), Ashton Holmes (Guy), and Martin Donovan (Highway Patrolman): A car-sharing ride from Pennsylvania to Delaware for Christmas Break goes horribly awry thanks primarily to the fact that the driver is a stalkery loner who has a crush on passenger Emily Blunt. 

However, the movie's more interested in the supernatural than in stalkery, slashy real-world goings-on, and that makes Wind Chill worth watching. The generic title doesn't help matters, especially as wind chill isn't much of a factor -- it's really just cold and snow and a crashed car, within which about 50% of the movie's scenes take place.

The writers go a couple of times too many to the Well of Dreams That Seem To Be Real, but things are otherwise quite, um, chilling. Portions of the story play effectively with various Urban Legend tropes concerning stopped cars and sinister cops, with a nod to the movie's Urban Legend qualities coming in the unnamed status of our two principals, who remain simply 'Guy' and 'Girl' for the movie. Emily Blunt and Ashton Holmes do decent work as the 'couple,' and the outdoor scenes manage to be sufficiently chilly and forlorn. Recommended.



JeruZalem  (2015): written and directed by Doron and Yoav Paz; starring Danielle Jadelyn (Sarah Pullman), Yael Grobglas (Rachel Klein), Yon Tumarkin (Kevin Reed), and Tom Graziani (Omar): Loopy found-footage film with an anomalous 'Z' in the title. Yes, the 'Z' is there to cater to World War Z fans. But the monsters in this Israeli production aren't zombies. Jerusalem itself is really the on-location star of this film. 

The two Jewish-American 20-something women who visit Jerusalem on holidays have a good time at first before all Hell breaks loose, though not before the protagonist has taken off her footage-filming iGlasses so that we can get a look at her nekkid. Hoo ha! 

The whole thing ends up being a plea for people of different faiths to get along set against a background of apocalyptic destruction. I enjoyed it, especially its non-zombie components. More nudity might have been nice. Recommended.



Quarantine (2008): adapted by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle from the movie Rec, written by Jaume Balaguero, Luiso Berdejo, and Paco Plaza; directed by John Erick Dowdle; starring Jennifer Carpenter (Angela), Steve Harris (Scott), Jay Hernandez (Jay), and Johnathon Schaech (George): Effective Americanization of the Spanish horror movie Rec throws out Roman Catholicism in favour of a more bioterroristic explanation for the horrors that await the cops, paramedics, film crew, and residents in an L.A. apartment building within which they're trapped under quarantine. 

It's another found-footage movie, and as such it plays better on a small screen (or at least less vertiginously). Jennifer Carpenter's character gets annoyingly reduced to screaming, Fay-Wray stand-in for the last third of the film. Admittedly, who wouldn't scream while being assailed by blood-thirsty, super-strong plague victims at every moment? The original was superior, though not by as much as horror cognoscenti like to pretend. Recommended.

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