Jack and Stephanie (a writer and a singer) drive in Alabama. Jack is driving too fast, and a cop passes him. The cop had gone ahead to block off part of the road next to an accident. Jack runs over some of the cop's cones, so they have a conversation. Jack asks for the quickest way back to the Interstate, and the cop gives them a shortcut. This turns out very badly: there is a car partially blocking the dirt road, and a do-it-yourself spike strip over the rest of the path. So, they are in the middle of nowhere with two flat tires and one spare.
Jack and Stephanie find a house with lights on inside, which looks promising. There is a guest register. Randy and Leslie (grad student in psychology, and a real estate developer) are the other involuntary 'guests,' who also ran over the same sharp iron and got flats on their BMW. Shortly after the two couples start exploring, the electricity goes out, and the men go looking for the generator.
The owners, Stewart and Betty, plus son Pete, greet them and give them some so-so news, like indifferent telephone service, no likelihood of tow trucks coming in the night, and 20 USD/person to stay the night. Pete does fix the electricity, and Betty sets a nice table.
At the dinner, the weirdness starts. The ice is impossibly cold, visions start showing up, the owners are rather menacing. When Leslie tries to leave, a menacing figure shows up at the front lawn. Betty is rather discouraged, and asks them what they did in order to bring forth the Tin Man. Leslie starts reading newspaper clippings glued to a wall, recounting an accident some years past.
Betty identifies the figure as the Tin Man. She says that he comes only for the guilty. The Tin Man drops in a tin can with rules on it. They need to deliver a body to the Tin Man by morning, or else he will kill all of them. Stewart and Betty attempt to lock the quartet in the meat locker, but they fight back.
So, do any of the protagonists survive? Just who are Stewart, Betty, Pete, and Tin Man, anyway? Do the guilty secrets of the young quartet surface? What secrets are contained in the house?
Cinematography: 7/10 Too dark, with focus a bit too soft.
Sound: 5/10 A bit hollow at times. Also, the synchronisation between actors' lips and spoken words is off, giving the impression that the whole thing is dubbed without sub-titles.
Acting: 6/10 Not great, but better than in many similar films. Lew Temple, Leslie Easterbrook, Bill Moseley, and Michael Madsen were fine, though Madsen's role was rather short.
Screenplay: 5/10 Familiar themes with not much original, though the ending did seem to be borrowed from another genre. The story does move right along.
The worst part about the movie, is if it had been done right, it could've been similar to The Shining.