Winter is a magical season, with its snow-covered landscapes and chilly air, but when a blizzard hits, it can transform the serene beauty into a relentless force of nature. With winter coming in full force in Europe these days, and snow blocking Munich among other places, I thought it would be a nice occasion to take a look at some films set during periods of heavy snow. Filmmakers often capitalize on the dramatic potential of blizzards, using them as the backdrop for intense and gripping stories. From suspenseful thrillers to heartwarming dramas, here are six films that take place in the midst of a blizzard.
Quentin Tarantino is known for his unique storytelling and unapologetic use of violence, and “The Hateful Eight” is no exception. Set in post-Civil War Wyoming, a blizzard forces a group of strangers to seek refuge in a remote cabin. Tensions rise as trust erodes, and the characters are enveloped by a storm both outside and within. The blizzard becomes a character itself, intensifying the suspense and mistrust that permeates the narrative. With a stellar cast and Tarantino’s signature dialogue, “The Hateful Eight” is a chilling experience that makes the blizzard an integral part of the story.
Moving from Wyoming to the icy landscapes of Minnesota, “Fargo” is a black comedy crime film directed by the Coen Brothers. The film follows a kidnapping gone wrong and the subsequent investigation by a pregnant police chief. The harsh winter conditions and relentless snowfall add an extra layer of difficulty to the characters’ already complicated lives. The blizzard in “Fargo” is not just a setting but a metaphor for the cold and unforgiving world these characters inhabit. The film’s quirky characters and dark humor make it a standout in the realm of films set in blizzards.
Directed by Joe Carnahan, “The Grey” is a survival thriller that pits Liam Neeson against the harsh Alaskan wilderness and a pack of territorial wolves. After a plane crash, a group of oil workers must navigate through the snow-covered terrain while being pursued by the relentless predators. The blizzard becomes an ever-present threat, reducing visibility and complicating the characters’ struggle for survival. “The Grey” explores themes of resilience, survival instincts, and the brutal force of nature, making it a gripping tale set against a backdrop of icy desolation.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho, “Snowpiercer” takes the concept of a frozen world to a whole new level. In a dystopian future where Earth has become a frozen wasteland, the remnants of humanity survive aboard a train that circumnavigates the globe. The perpetual blizzard outside makes any attempts to venture into the open a perilous endeavor. The film is a thrilling allegory that explores class struggle, societal inequality, and the consequences of environmental disaster, all within the confines of a high-speed, perpetually moving train.
Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, “Wind River” is a murder mystery set on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. When a young Native American woman is found dead in the snow, a federal wildlife officer played by Jeremy Renner and an FBI agent played by Elizabeth Olsen team up to solve the case. The unforgiving winter conditions add a layer of difficulty to their investigation, emphasizing the isolation and challenges faced by the characters. “Wind River” is a poignant exploration of grief, justice, and the harsh realities of life in a desolate landscape.
No list of films set in blizzards would be complete without Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film, “The Shining.” Based on Stephen King’s novel, the film tells the story of the Torrance family as they take care of the isolated Overlook Hotel during the winter. As the hotel becomes snowbound, Jack Nicholson’s character descends into madness, haunted by supernatural forces that seem to be unleashed by the blizzard outside. The combination of eerie isolation and the relentless storm creates a chilling atmosphere that has made “The Shining” a horror masterpiece.