It’s 2002, and American novelist Naomi (Genesis Rodriguez) and her husband Matt (Vincent Piazza) have traveled to Norway on a small book tour. Times have been tough lately, so the couple decided to make the trip despite the fact that Naomi is 8 months pregnant. While driving back to their hotel, the couple finds themselves in the middle of a blizzard, and decide to pull over to the side of the road instead of trying to drive in zero visibility. However, they fall asleep and when they wake up, they find that their vehicle is completely covered in snow and ice, and they are trapped inside. Their cell phone has no signal, and the battery is nearly dead. While Naomi wants to try to dig their way out and find their way back to the hotel (which is about 50 miles away), Matt is convinced that they are better off waiting for someone to find them, keeping whatever heat they have contained in the sealed vehicle.
After some arguing and playing the blame game, the couple switches into survival mode, taking an inventory of their supplies and figuring out rations. However, their food supply consists of a small amount of snacks, a box of chocolates that were supposed to be a gift for Naomi’s sister, and two bottles of water—which they plan to stretch to 12 days if needed. They also have a supply of candles to provide light. However, each day that goes by without help, the cold temperature from outside seeps in more, and their fate looks worse. Each passing day also means another day closer to Naomi’s due date, and the last thing they need is yet another mouth to feed and to try to keep warm. Will someone find the couple before its too late, will they take matters into their own hands and find their own way out, or are they just delaying the inevitable?
Centigrade is a pretty solid, and sometimes disturbing, thriller. It is pretty much just these two characters trapped in the same small space over the course of the movie. Both actors do a nice job of selling their characters and their dire situation, and keep things interesting the whole time. There is the occasional exterior shot to show the progression of time, or the current status of the weather outside, but otherwise, the film primarily just takes place in the relentless claustrophobia of this rental car. The exterior shots also hauntingly reveal just how close to freedom the couple really is if they would just make their move and try to get out as there are several vulnerable looking areas where the car is not completely covered. However, the longer they wait, the worse the situation gets. As the couple desperately try to survive their hunger and the elements, they are also forced to confront and deal with some unspoken issues in their relationship. As new emotional, mental and physical challenges come their way, Naomi and Matt don’t give up, and keep trying to adapt and tackle these obstacles.
The filmmakers have done a nice job of showing the progression of how the weather is affecting these two, as their faces get paler, their lips become more chapped, and their fingers start to go blue. Despite their limited food reserves, Naomi and Matt seem to have an endless supply of candles…someone must have stopped off at Yankee Candle before the storm!
While the opening of the film states that the story is based on actual events, it isn’t based on a single account of a real couple. Instead, the story and characters come from an amalgamation of many real-life survival stories.
Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release is a bit of a mixed bag. The exterior scenes suffer from a lot of banding, and some of the blizzardy snow scenes lack a lot of detail, looking almost animated with the white on white. However, despite being somewhat darker, the interior scenes look quite good, and have a lot of detail, especially in the worsening faces of the couple. The yellow light of the candles also helps to keep these scenes from getting too dark. The audio track provides clear dialogue while also capturing every sound of the couple’s movements about the vehicle as well as the atmospheric sounds of the winds and nature surrounding the car.
The Blu-ray disc comes packed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a slipcover. There is no digital copy is included, and there is no bonus material except for the film’s trailer.
- 1080p / Widescreen 2.38:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround, English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, English Descriptive Audio Track
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Trailer (1:52)
Centigrade is an entertaining and claustrophobic tale of survival that is sometimes disturbing and hard to watch. The trapped couple finds themselves on a rollercoaster of emotions as they breakdown and reconnect, not only dealing with the elements and lack of food, but also confronting and overcoming issues in their own relationship. The technical presentation of the Blu-ray is a bit of a mixed bag but generally satisfying. Unfortunately the release is barebones, and doesn’t include any bonus material. That said, the film is still worth checking out if looking for a new survival drama/thriller.