A treasure hunt is underway in chilly British Columbia in Numb, where a couple with a mysterious past cozies up to a pair of good Samaritans who quickly get in over their heads.
It’s not long before the frigid cold wreaks havoc on a group already untrusting of each other, too far into a desolate woodland landscape to turn back. Numb moves methodically, offering just enough to create the vision of the characters that films want you to. Will (Jaime Bamber) and wife Dawn (Stefanie von Pfetten) suddenly land in a situation forced to aid a couple wandering a frigid highway. They are Cheryl (Marie Avgeropoulos) and Lee (Aleks Paunovic), and because he has a goatee and she a wicked tongue, we immediately know them to be bad. Dawn and Will meanwhile are the lovely couple, blond and blue-eyed and all wholesome, surely.
That’s also because the more suspicious pair knows of unclaimed treasure buried in the area, and inexplicably they’re all in the forest, venturing into cold to secure financial salvation before anyone else might. Greed, hmm.
From director Jason R. Goode on a script by Andre Harden, this standard suspense-thriller template does the most important thing the best: feel the cold. While the two couples could be better equipped to venture out into the snow, the believability of their endeavor isn’t at issue. A coat of frost quickly coats hands and faces, burns form, and in hungry for money turns to desperation for survival.
It’s a painful watch at times, and the chill of the movie supersedes more pedestrian elements.
Tension rises and seeps over the edge, and no one is let off the hook by the film. However quickly we identity Will and Dawn as protagonists, and two more shady looking characters very much not, innocence and guilt cleverly become blurred. It’s less about caring about the fate of any one character; instead Numb hooks you on the mystery, not only of the treasure, but about who these people are, why they’re here, and what exactly will happen to them.
Numb also triumphs in part to its supporting character in the form of the majestic British Columbia wilderness. Much of the action takes place during the daylight, with a glimmering sun juxtaposing the crippling cold. Then again, the characters shouldn’t even be out there.
- Rated: PG-13
- Genre: Mystery, SUSPENSE, Thriller
- Release Date: 3/04/2016
- Directed by: Jason R. Goode
- Starring: Aleks Paunovic, Colin Cunningham, Jamie Bamber, Marie Avgeropoulos, Stefanie von Pfetten
- Produced by: Dene Anderberg, Edward Noeltner, Jason R. Goode
- Written by: Andre Harden
- Studio: Hope of Glory Pictures, Jenkinson/Goode Productions