There are few movies that annoyed me more than this one.
Firstly, back in 2003 (?) there was a British film called Dead End, which was very well received by many of those who saw it. Personally I consider it among the est three horror films of Millenium.
But, coming before the Saw/The Descent/Wolf Creek triad, while quite a few people among the horror fandom had seen it, it wasn't that well known outside of said fandom.
You know how people think of Jaws whenever there's a film about killer sharks? Imagine one with detestable kids, in which the jock engages a local fisherman in a drinking contest while the nerd is antagonized for wanting to be a shark-empathizing marine biologist.
Now imagine Jaws wasn't that successful and modern-day Spielberg has a niche fanbase, which you're part of, and one day you see a film about killer sharks and people outside the niche start talking about how original the concept is.
Now combine the two.
Both feature people driving home for Christmas, who take a detour road and crash and stumble onto mysterious phenomena including all instruments for telling time stopping. Except, in Wind Chill, its made very clear time hasn't stopped, so clocks stopping doesn't hold any significance. It had no meaning unless it was copied from another movie with no thought given to why it happened in that movie.
Granted, theres no concrete proof of plagarism and it could've been a coincidence, but the evidence - similarities that serve no purpose - suggests otherwise.
Naturally you might ask why a big Hollywood studio would plagarise a niche film. ut don't forget, most Hollywood films at the time heavily resembled either "Ring" or "Saw", so, er, "emulating" another relatively popular indie film might be a logical step.
Normally, being a fan of emotionally mature horror, the smaller cast would be a good sign. But these two protagonists are utterly hatable. The writers didn't understand how slow burn is supposed to work; instead of building tension and atmosphere from the start, we're given the worthless red herring about Ashton Kutcher's character being dangerous.
Emily Blunt on the hand plays the most vacuous, narcissistic, whiny, self-important character an audience has been supposed to root for.
One final thing - what deviations this film had from Dead End, were suspiciously similar to an even smaller niche 2003 film, The Locals, so really Wind Chill is a horrible chimera of two of my favorite movies.