This thriller is a heady, suspenseful brew that mixes dark comedy with scare tactics, resulting in a tense buildup and a complexity that belies the apparent simplicity of the plot. Ray Wise plays Frank Harrington, the sharp-witted patriarch of a family that's having difficulties getting along during the holiday season. Driving to Christmas dinner at the in-laws, his passengers include his wife, his psych-student daughter, her unhinged boyfriend Brad, and her teenaged, gothed-out brother. The trouble begins when Frank falls asleep at the wheel, nearly killing everyone; a foreboding sign of what's to come. Soon after realizing that his shortcut has resulted in getting the travellers hopelessly lost, Frank picks up a beautiful, mute lady in white, hitchhiking with a little bundle that appears to be a baby. Things soon turn deadly, and the family embarks on a panic-stricken quest to escape the nightmare they have stumbled into, while their bickering maintains its constancy. Though the special effects are superbly done and the simple scenario is carried along by an impressive buildup, in the end it is the superbly acted characters who carry this film. Along with Wise, ALLY MCBEAL's Alexandra Holden, Amber Smith, (AMERICAN BEAUTY) and Farrely brothers veteran Lin Shay all turn in stellar performances.
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