When your film only has two characters, you’d better make damn sure that they’re likeable — or a at least a tiny bit compelling. That’s how the survival film “Centigrade” fails from the offset. This repetitive, based-on-a-true-story film is a torturous two hour argument between a husband and wife who can’t stand each other. If the two main characters don’t even like each other, then why should the audience like or care about them?
Matt (Vincent Piazza) and his pregnant wife Naomi (Genesis Rodriguez) are visiting Norway when they become trapped in their rental car after a winter storm buries them under a thick layer of ice and snow. With dwindling supplies, an increasing danger of deadly hypothermia from the blizzard, and no way to escape, the pair fight for survival in the confines of their vehicle. They have no idea what’s outside or how close they could be from safety, so they must weigh their only two options: stay in the car and wait to be rescued, or try to bust out and possibly freeze in the elements.
This is a survival thriller that lacks thrills. Director Brendan Walsh thrusts viewers into the action and the confines of the car almost immediately, putting us face to face with the characters. Matt and Naomi are not likeable in the least, and there’s a lot of arguing and marital discord that makes it difficult to care if they live or die. Naomi is careless and Matt isn’t the smartest, and the film doesn’t work as well as it could have because everything about the couple is so unpleasant. When it appears that they are about to freeze to death and all you are thinking “good riddance,” you know your character development has failed.
By: Louisa Moore