‘WINTER RIDGE’ is an upcoming British crime-thriller starring Matt Hookings, Olwen Catherine Kelly, and Justin McDonald. Directed by Dom Lenoir, this story centers on a detective that has his life turned upside down when his wife is put in a coma from a car accident. While at the same time trying to catch a serial-killer with a mounting body count.
As a fan of the mystery-thriller genre, I love their ability to pull me into the story. Their knack for getting my mind working, as well as their effective nature of keeping me guessing, when done properly. Something ‘Winter Ridge’ accomplishes with a nicely organized script that peels back the story layers with a nice intriguing flow. The plot-line is grounded, it doesn’t rely on splashes of horror tropes to build intensity. It keeps a singular tone, that being a moody crime-mystery which maintains a consistently foreboding atmosphere. An element of the story that kept me slightly on edge as the evidence slowly complies and the hunt for the serial-killer intensifies.
The sub-plot of this detective’s wife being in a coma was woven nicely into the structure of the main story-line. It created elements of uncertainty in whether or not the main character could keep himself together. This missing piece from his life during this case specifically was both a hindrance, and something that fueled his motivation to solve it. And the result of these emotional swings was compelling to watch play-out as it created an aura of genuine unpredictability in the possible directions the plot could turn.
Would his wife’s condition help him solve the case? Or would it cloud his vision and result in a killer going free? A compelling question this script was able to pose many times throughout its progression to maintain the viewer interest in seeing how it will end. All of which were interesting story dynamics that were heighted by the cast performances.
Matt Hookings was a great lead, he captured the range of emotion and all the internal torment his character was forced to deal with very sincerely. He has some sudden emotional swings as different situations are thrown at him, and Hookings delivered them with a natural charisma that made his character easy to connect with and invest in.
Justin McDonald and Michael McKell were both very good as well and each embodied their character-types with realism. They felt comfortable and capable in their performances and it created a natural chemistry you would expect to see between a group of detectives. Olwen Catherine Kelly was great as well with a very down-to-earth performance. I think her impact on this film was subtle, but it was interesting too see how her character subconsciously served as a calming-device for the detective as she cared for his wife in the hospital.
It’s also a beautifully crafted film and gives off the impression of a much larger budget. It’s tightly-edited and very polished as far as film-techniques. The camerawork captured the region perfectly to showcase the beauty of it, while at the same time a vast isolation of the landscape, that captures a slightly cold atmosphere. It creates a rich backdrop to maintain a foreboding mood that complements the story tone effectively. It was an interesting crime-thriller that delivered solid intrigue, and continual effort. I would have liked to have known a little more about the focal characters, and the pace of the third-act does speed up a little quickly, but there is more than enough here to weave an intriguing murder mystery that will grab your attention.
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