Not to be confused with the amazing 1987 thriller with Mary Steenburgen, the 2006 film Dead of Winter (also known as Lost Signal) is a New Year’s Eve horror flick that is “based on true events.”
Our leading couple consists of two horror veterans: hottie Al Santos (Jeepers Creepers 2, Mustang Sally’s Horror House, Killer Movie, Speed Demons) and Sandra McCoy (Cry-Wolf, Horror High, House of Fears). The couple heads to a New Year’s Eve party, apparently with the express purpose of doing crystal meth.
When they leave the party, it is made clear to us that they are tripping out! Which pretty much sets up the scenario for the movie; all the crazy shit they are about to experience is nothing but hallucinations. They crash their car and are then chased by a psycho killer through the woods, but none of it’s real…right?
Not so fast. There’s a scene at the beginning of the film that shows us otherwise by revealing that there will most definitely be at least one dead body by the end of the film. And that little tease guarantees you’ll continue watching.
Dead of Winter is an intense, suspense film that keeps you wondering—wondering who’s going to die and what’s actually real. Things become more complicated and creepy than a simple stalker situation. The couple’s drug trip even causes them to become paranoid about each other.
They do manage to get through to a 911 operator (Ella Joyce—“The Nurse” in Bubba Ho-Tep) and have various cryptic and nonsensical conversations with her. She’s convinced it is not a prank call and urges the sheriff to go out and look for them, which adds a whole second side story to the film.
The twist at the end is satisfying enough for cinema, but from the “based on true events” angle, it raises more questions as to what actually happened in real life. Which causes you to Google the true story, only to learn that the movie is pretty much totally fiction after all. Sure, you feel totally manipulated, but you did get to ring in the New Year with Al….