Centigrade: IFC Midnight buries unlucky couple under snow and ice

Vincent Piazza as “Matt” in Brendan Walsh’s CENTIGRADE. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. An IFC Midnight Release.
Vincent Piazza as “Matt” in Brendan Walsh’s CENTIGRADE. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. An IFC Midnight Release. /

Centigrade is a claustrophobic, snowbound thriller from IFC Midnight. Check out this perfect film to distract you from the summer heat.

When it comes to horror, no amount of otherworldly monsters gets to me quite as much as the simplicity of a confined setting. One need look no further than the films of George Romero (Night of the Living Dead in particular) to see humanity turned inside-out by distrust and conflict before the actual “monsters” ever get a foothold.

With IFC Midnight’s forthcoming thriller, Centigrade, director Brendan Walsh looks to create tension from a minimalist setting and two-person cast.

I’m a big fan of films that find strategic ways to exploit spare settings for all they’re worth. One of the more noteworthy efforts of the past decade, Rodrigo Cortes’ Buried, cast Ryan Reynolds against type as a civilian contractor who finds himself confined to a coffin – a deliciously Poe-like conceit – for 90 minutes.

When minimalism is the name of the game, good filmmakers find ways to make you feel the claustrophobia and desperation of the scenario.

And the 3-minute sneak preview of Centigrade has me on the figurative hook.

We open on the interior of an SUV, where Matthew (Vincent Piazzi) and pregnant Naomi (Genesis Rodriguez – Tusk), awaken to find themselves unable to work their doorhandles or get the engine to turn over. The windows are frosted over, and nothing of the outside world is visible.

There are certain little details I like, such as the presence of a sunroof on the SUV, and the fact that the clip concludes with Matthew making his way to the hatchback, even though we don’t get to see what (if anything) is back there. And the fact that Naomi seems more panicked over the unfolding situation, whereas Matthew is much more laid-back. Is there something to be inferred from these characters’ divergent attitudes?

IFC also teased the following details:

"“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.“"

With IFC Midnight’s track record of bringing unconventional genre fare to the masses, and the fact that this opening teaser plunges right into Centigrade‘s desperate scenario, I’m more than intrigued to see how the rest of the feature pans out.

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Centigrade will be released to VOD, streaming outlets, and select drive-ins on August 28.

Will you be checking out Centigrade? Let us know what you think of the sneak peek in the comments.