Cold Wind Blowing (2022) SFFF Review

Cold Wind Blowing Poster

Cold Wind Blowing (2022) SFFF Review

The second day of this year’s Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival opened fittingly enough with the Saskatchewan theatrical premiere of the locally produced feature Cold Wind Blowing. Like last year’s festival entry Don’t Say Its Name, it’s a creature film with a monster drawn from Native folklore. In this case, it’s a Wendigo that has its sights set on a bunch of kids dumb enough to rent a cabin in the woods for the holidays.

The sound of a message on an answering machine and the presence of a Furby on Nomi’s (Angela Way, Lotus-eaters, Miles Away) dresser instantly tell us that Cold Wind Blowing takes place in the 1980s. Wanting to avoid dealing with her divorced parents over the Christmas holidays, she’s planned a small get-together in a secluded cabin. But when her friends Casey (M.J. Kehler, Red Hollow, Incredible Violence) and Samantha (Nalani Wakita, CR: Complete Reality, In the Shadows it Waits) arrive to pick her up she gets an unpleasant surprise.

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It seems that Nick (Griffin Cork, The Zombie Apocalypse in Apartment 14F, Dark Nature) overheard Nomi’s brother Thomas (Cameron Petersen, Haxx Deadroom: A Cyberpunkzz Story, Dionne Copland’s Inferno) and Max (Alexander Lowe, Welcome to Marwen, Cuties) talking and weaselled himself an invitation. The problem is, he’s Nomi’s ex and not somebody she wants to see.

Writer/director Dionne Copland (Chasing Rewind, Computer Hearts) frontloads Cold Wind Blowing with various interpersonal connections and complications that also include Thomas and Samantha being a couple and Casey and Nomi having history, and then focuses on them for entirely too long. I understand that it’s a microbudget film and I don’t expect it to be wall-to-wall creatures and effects. But at a hundred and eight minutes it runs long and there’s a fair amount of unneeded dialogue that could have been trimmed.

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We do get some creepy scenes and odd flashbacks during all of this, but it’s not until the creature finally shows up, nearly an hour into the proceedings, that Cold Wind Blowing really acts like a horror movie. It is an impressive switchover however with some Argentoesque lighting and, when we get a good look at the victim, some nasty practical effects. It’s unnerving and almost makes up for the long wait.

The Creature itself is a skeletal-looking nightmare, cheaply and effectively realized with practical effects, clever editing and cinematographer Louise Weard’s (Gutterballs 2: Balls Deep, A Thousand Words) clever use of darkness and shadow to hide its shortcomings. A nice touch is having its attacks frequently accompanied by the voice of an AM radio personality known as The Wolf (Larry Fessenden, Summoners, Wendigo).

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Cold Wind Blowing does have quite a bit going for it once it actually gets going. Copland has an eye for creepy and disturbing visuals. Some of them are neatly hidden in the background adding a disturbing feel even if you only subconsciously notice it. There’s also an unexpected, but logical ending that caught me off guard, even though it’s something I’ve found myself thinking while watching similar films.

In some ways, Cold Wind Blowing feels like a film that was taken as far as an early assembly before the money ran out. It’s finished, all the elements, the effects, score, etc are there, but it hasn’t been properly edited And that’s what it needs, another edit to trim and tighten it up because this would have been a much better film at ninety minutes than as it currently stands. That way, it would be much less likely to bog down and lose its mood and momentum. The filmmakers show the kind of technical ability a film like Cold Wind Blowing requires. They just need the writing chops to properly showcase it

Cold Wind Blowing is available on DVD and Digital platforms from Mutiny Pictures. You can check their website for more information. If you’re looking for more films like Cold Wind Blowing, Film Tagger can suggest some titles.

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