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COLD BLOWS THE WIND: Love, Murder, and Mystery in a Twisted Indie Horror

By Amylou Ahava

"Cold blows the wind over my true love

Cold blows the drops of rain

I never had but one true love and in Campville he was slain.

I’ll do as much for my true love as any young girl may,

I’ll sit and weep down by his grave for 12 months and one day..."

Relationships are hard enough in themselves, and adding murders, the living dead, and possessions to the mix makes things even more difficult. What should have been a romantic birthday weekend becomes an excursion through surreal interactions. Written, directed, and produced by Eric Williford, COLD BLOWS THE WIND is a unique low-budget indie horror story that does well with creating gore and unleashing surprises but also doesn’t take itself too seriously as it steers more towards the level of B-horror than dramatic intrigue. 

The film immediately starts with the unsettling stare of a deranged-looking woman as she quotes the lines from an old folk song, “Cold Blows the Wind,”  not to be confused with the Eminem song “Cold Wind Blows.” She growls about how she would do anything for her true love. With her blood-splattered face in view, we know we will not witness a romantic tale.  Aside from the creepy opening number, the movie starts in media res as the driving action has already occurred, and we are very much in the ‘cover-up’ portion of the plot. 

Married couple Dean (Danell Leyva) and Tasha (Victoria Vertuga) hit a jogger with their car. While the injured man could have survived a trip to the hospital, out of fear for their future, they chose to kill the only witness to their crime. And don’t worry. None of this is a spoiler because it happens in the first seven minutes of the movie. 

The reason for the accident is left a secret, and will hopefully die with the jogger. But Dean and Tasha can’t expect to get off that easy. All couples have disagreements, and certain fights occur repeatedly throughout a relationship. And for this particular couple, they can’t seem to get over murdering a jogger and burying him in the woods. Dean wants to move on and act like it's no big deal. And Tasha thinks it is a big deal. So, she is not entirely on board with the murder and disposal of the body, and Dean keeps giving weak excuses to justify his crimes. But as the couple bickers over a freshly dug grave, it becomes clear that someone else is out that night. 

When you think the movie will revolve around Tasha and Dean turning on each other, a new character is introduced to the story. A distraught and scared Briar (Jamie Bernadette) shows up at their door, claiming a man is tracking her. She says she is in danger but says it all with a knowing smile and seems to know a lot about the woods and the secrets they keep. COLD BLOWS THE WIND might seem like another predictable entry in the cabin-in-the-woods subgenre, but this film earns points for originality.  

The film's most enjoyable aspect is the plot's twists and turns as it leads us through the narrative. With such a bizarre night, Tasha does not seem to register things are getting weirder. Some conversations seem like awkward exposition dumps and don’t entirely mirror the mood or atmosphere. Still, the strange exchanges between Briar and Tasha might represent how quickly the human psyche normalizes horrific situations. The film takes so many turns that, right when you think the story will follow particular expectations, suddenly everything takes a much more supernatural turn. Two main storylines unfold throughout the movie: Dean dealing with what’s outside in the forest and Tasha dealing with what they let into the house. 

COLD BLOWS THE WIND offers quite a few horror elements but also includes a lot of mystery as each character and even the woods hold a secret that slowly unravels as the plot progresses. And even though the dialogue comes off as a bit over-the-top at some points, the motivations, paranoia, and deep-rooted distrust performed by the small cast still lead to engaging and even sexy interactions.

Williford takes such a fresh approach to a familiar subgenre that the macabre setting will seem familiar, but COLD BLOWS THE WIND  will still leave you guessing what will happen next.

COLD BLOWS THE WIND played as a part of the 2024 Chattanooga Film Festival.


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