Cold Comfort (1990)
This is one of those movies that you makes you want to give Paul a big ol’ hug after just a glance at the DVD cover. No, really. Travelling salesman Stephen Miller (Paul Gross) is caught up in almost a Misery-style scenario when tow truck driver Floyd (Maury Chaykin - who’s in just about every movie Paul is, what’s the deal with that?) finds his car in a ditch during a blizzard and brings him home, unconscious, as a ‘present’ for his daughter who’s turning 18 the following day.
You can pretty much see where this is going, can’t you.
Oh sure, his attempts to leave are initially thwarted by seemingly innocent circumstances - the blizzard needs to pass first; the home is out in the middle of nowhere and there’s no phone to call out; Floyd wants his daughter to have a little company for her birthday. Slowly we get the little hints of something a little ‘off’; we’re not talking about an immediately unhinged situation where it’s pretty clear from the outset that something’s not quite right. It’s in the little glares and brief outbursts from Floyd that we begin to see that all is not entirely right in the man’s head. Dolores is stunningly naiive and entirely trusting of her father despite his outbursts, and it’s clear that Stephen feels no small measure of empathy for her. Still, there’s no denying that the father-daughter relationship is just a little unorthodox when she essentially performs a strip-tease in front of both him and Stephen during her birthday ‘celebration’, which in turn sparks a drunken Floyd’s rage at Stephen for witnessing said.
Stephen tries to make an escape on foot but ends up caught in a bear trap (ow) and when he finally gets his car keys back from Delores, she wants to go with him - yeah, as you can imagine, that plan turns out real well. Stephen ends up shackled in irons around his remaining good ankle to a pipe.
This is probably one of the only times I’ve heard the word “motherfucker” come out of Paul’s mouth, and honestly when he swears so vehemently it makes me weak at the knees, don’t ask me why. I can’t explain it.
Anyway, this is a pretty good movie - Paul gets to show his acting chops with some touching and at one point intensely emotional moments with Delores, contrasted with his complete and utter rage at Floyd when he finds out he’s being confined by a chain; there’s just enough creepiness without it being over the top, Chaykin does a good job of being emotionally unstable and somewhat casually callous in relation to Stephen that’s in line with someone who’s not entirely mentally healthy without being a caricature of said (but this seems to be a specialty of his to be honest), and I think that’s the scariest part; that it could in fact happen to just about anyone.