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COLD WIND BLOWING (2021)
Directed and written by Dionne Copland.
Starring Nalani Wakita, Griffin Cork, M.J. Kehler, Alexander Lowe, Angela Way, Greg Tysseland, Cameron Petersen, Dallas Basso, Gwen Basso, Larry Fessenden
A group of friends take a trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere for Christmas break. Each of them have had somewhat complicated relationships with one another and getting them into one spot for the holiday proves to amp up tensions quite a bit. To top things off, there seems to be a wendigo outside that will do anything, including imitate their friends, to get to the kids.
In every review, I debate whether to start out with the positives or negatives, but with this one, I honestly don’t know how to begin. I guess, let’s stay positive for a bit. I really liked the cast and the roles they chose to play. Each one is distinct and interact with one another in a realistic and casual way. The kids in this story have known each other for years, some since childhood, and there’s a comfortable way they all interact with one another that was believable to me. Each of the cast handled the high drama well. Out of the group, I think I liked M.J. Kehler’s Casey the best, mainly because she was never conflicted about who she was or wanted to be. That performance and Alexander Lowe’s Max (because I have to support my fellow gingers out there) stood out to me as the most compelling and complex roles.
That said, there is no reason this group should be on a vacation together. For the first forty minutes, this film is nothing but lies, betrayal, hurt feelings, frustration, jealousy, bullying, enabling, and basically everyone being total assholes to one another. Why this group hang out with one another is beyond me. Two of the characters are brother and sister, so it’s understandable that they’d be hanging together, but the rest of the group seem to hate everything about each other. I get it. Movies need conflict. But there’s nothing but conflict and no indication as to why these kids would make their lives hell by hanging with one another for the holidays. Because they all seem to bring out the worst in each other, it makes me root for the monster to get them.
The problem is that most of the cast ends up surviving this encounter with the unknown. That catharsis that would have come from seeing each of these horrible people meet their end isn’t there. That paired with the fact that forty minutes is wendigo free and it’s going to be hard pill to swallow for those impatient types out there.
It really feels like the cast of COLD WIND BLOWING really got into their roles. So much so that the filmmakers forgot that they were supposed to be making a horror movie. When the wendigo does eventually show up, I really liked the minimalist way the monster was realized. I also especially liked how ambiguous the monster was in terms of powers and even a definite look. Sure, the exposed deer skull and horns are shown, but the rest of the monster is quite va gue. The heavy shadows of the forest and the vague shape of the wendigo made for an intriguing monster.
I liked the cast. They’re talented and I imagine some will make it big someday. I just wish they would have gotten to the horror parts a bit sooner. COLD WIND BLOWING is a bit misguided and you couldn’t pay me to spend five minutes, much less a holiday with the cast, but if you’re patient, there’s a lot to love here.