Thursday, August 27, 2020

Centigrade Review: Every Tourist's Chilling Nightmare

Starring: Genesis Rodriguez and Vincent Piazza, indie, independent, brendan walsh, horror, thriller, freezing, cold

Release date: August 28, 2020
Running time: 89 minutes
Starring: Genesis Rodriguez and Vincent Piazza

In 2002, a young American couple, Matthew (Piazza) and Naomi (Rodriguez), travel to the arctic mountains of Norway. After pulling over during a snowstorm, they wake up trapped in their SUV, buried underneath layers of snow and Ice. As if the stakes aren’t high enough, Naomi is eight months pregnant in their frozen prison. With few resources, a dwindling food supply, and nothing but time, tension, blame, and personal secrets bubble to the surface. Matthew and Naomi realize they must work together to survive in a crippling battle against the elements, hypothermia, disturbing hallucinations, and plunging temperatures reaching as low as -30C.

Starring: Genesis Rodriguez and Vincent Piazza, indie, independent, brendan walsh, horror, thriller, freezing, cold
This movie requires a lot from Rodriguez and Piazza, basically asking them to carry the film on their talents alone.  And thankfully they are up for the challenge.  The two display realistic acting, emotions, and as the situation slowly deteriorates, they show what could happen when things go south.  There are several layers to what happens in this film, from blame, to doubt, to digging up other dark secrets, and then simply to madness.  Each of these levels is convincingly portrayed by the pair and hats off to them for that.  A movie like this could have been far less compelling with a less convincing couple, but thankfully these two nailed it.  The nature of this film makes everything feel cramped and claustrophobic, which is what the filmmaker was going for.  It succeeds in making you feel confined, with the majority of the shots taking place inside the car.  Very occasionally the camera will pan up to what is happening outside, but thankfully this does not occur often.  The real meat of this film is in the car and that is where the camera spends the most time.

And the camera work is really fantastic.  For a film that spends the majority of the time in a cramped car, the camera makes the most of this space.  Although the area is relatively small, you still see the couple move to various sections of the car so they are not simply on top of each other the entire time.  It also does a really good job communicating what is going on.  When the couple is arguing, the camera will take shots of each face separately while they are talking.  However, when they make up or come to an agreement, it will show them next to each other.  It is subtle but really does help to enhance the mood.  And the story does have some progression, although it does move very slowly.  That is just the nature of this film, there is only so much that can happen when everyone is confined to a car.  There is definitely a lot that does happen, but all of this occurs at a relatively measured pace.  And on top of all this, the film has a nice understated soundtrack that doesn't kick on a lot, but really sets the mood when it does.  If there is a negative, it is that there is only so much you can do in a film that is confined like this.  I don't think this is the fault of the filmmaker or the actors, but there is only so much that can happen with something based on a true story and in these conditions.  It is a testament to how to make an understated film with a few actors, but it also limits what can occur.

Centigrade is a claustrophobic survival thriller with a palatable sense of tension and a story that will chill you to the bone.  

Rent it.
Starring: Genesis Rodriguez and Vincent Piazza, indie, independent, brendan walsh, horror, thriller, freezing, cold
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