Long Winter’s Night is an action thriller about a former sex-trafficking slave who seeks revenge against the organization that held her and her sister captive for decades. Promising gritty, well-choreographed fight scenes and compelling character drama, the film contains a blend of elements found in female-led action films like “Kill Bill,” “Haywire,” and “Salt.”
The story is the first chapter in a longer saga (possibly a trilogy), leaving audiences pining for the next installment. Because of this, investors can expect a franchise that’s as financially viable as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “The Bourne Identity,” and the previously mentioned Quintin Tarantino epic.
“she opens a trailer and finds it filled with chained-up, disheveled women”
Back in Los Angeles, MELANIE boards a bus destined for Wyoming. That’s when the feature’s first flashback occurs, showing her as a teenager in her teacher MAKO’s house. She is nervous and afraid of being hit, but the old man is compassionate towards her. The camera returns to the bus as it pulls up to a stop. While MELANIE is in the restroom, she is attacked by two men who have been following her from L.A. With her ability to brawl, she handles them with ease. At the assailants’ car, she forces another hired goon to make a call to his boss to say that she’s dead.
In Cody, ETHAN is talking to his parents’ funeral director, who informs him that the funeral costs have been take care of by an anonymous donor. Confused, ETHAN returns back to the bed and breakfast to find a mysterious man, FRANK, and a girl in his driveway. They intend to stay the night but ETHAN doesn’t let them because of the upcoming funeral. Since she booked the couple’s reservation, this infuriates SUSAN and she fights with him. Yet, she walks away when inquired about the reservation and the suspicious donation. After the fight, the film shows FRANK mercilessly killing the girl on the side of the road.
Wasting no time getting to the exhilarating action, Long Winter’s Night opens with the heroine, MELANIE, infiltrating a building in the warehouse district of Los Angeles. Inside, she tortures a man, forcing him to reveal the whereabouts of unidentified woman. After he reveals the woman is in Cody, Wyoming, she kills him and many other guards in a gritty, heart-pounding escape. Just when she’s about to leave, though, she opens a trailer and finds it filled with chained-up, disheveled women.
The film then goes to the town of Cody at family-owned bed and breakfast, where SUSAN is having a huge fight with her parents, EDWARD and JOANNE. Enraged, the couple storms off in their car. Their son, ETHAN, has no idea why the argument occurred as his refuses to explain it him. A cut occurs after the scene and the story to a hospital emergency room. ETHAN takes and SUSAN rush in and are instantly crushed to learn that their parents were killed in a car accident. SHERIFF WHITLEY takes them home.
The film returns to Melanie—the goon’s cellphone and car now in her possession. Using them, she heads toward a revealed rendezvous point. Meanwhile, SUSAN goes to the local bar, “Jim’s Place,” to meet up with her ex-boyfriend, NOLAN. He’s upset with ETHAN’s refusal of FRANK and tells her to get her brother under control or his group will take care of him just like they did to her father. SUSAN gets the implication and tries to storm out but NOLAN grips her tight. Upon seeing this, ETHAN gets into a fistfight with him. JIM, the owner of the bar, breaks it up.
Another flashback ensues, this time it shows MELANIE running away from MAKO. As she’s walking down a dark street, she appears to be chased into a dead end by two men. However, it was only MAKO. He tells her that while she is free to go whenever she wants, but he also desires to help her because his dead daughter would’ve wanted him to. Snapping out of the flashback, the protagonist follows BEN, and JEFFREY back to the former’s house, where she murders them both. The killing alerts SHERIFF WHITLEY, JIM, and NOLAN to MELANIE’s presence
She eventually shows up at “Jim’s Place,” forcing JIM to kick everyone out of the bar. They start to have a conversation when ETHAN walks in. Sensing something’s awry, he fights MELANIE until she escapes.
The next day, ETHAN goes to the local body shop to get something from his deceased parents’ car. During the inspection of the glove box, he comes upon several months of bank statements for the bed and breakfast. It shows numerous transactions involving large amounts of money. He gets out of the car and also notices the red black bumper has black paint on it — similar to the chipped coat on the sheriff’s damaged cruiser in the shop! Quickly, the camera cuts to EDWARD and JOANNE being pushed off the road by SHERIFF WHITLEY. The shop’s worker notices him making this discover and informs the sheriff.
ETHAN drives back to his house to confront SUSAN. In a shocking reveal, SUSAN admits to using her family’s bed and breakfast to launder money for the sheriff, JIM, and their associates. EDWARD discovered this plot and it ends up being the reason for their fight. When their parents left, she told NOLAN about it.
At the bar, SHERIFF WHITLEY, NOLAN, FRANK, and JIM conspire to kill ETHAN. NOLAN, who volunteered for the assassination, leads the team as MELANIE watches them from the woods. They begin their assault by shooting SUSAN.
In an explosive scene, ETHAN takes out the henchman one by one. He’s about to be shot unexpectedly by another one, but MELANIE saves him. Critically injured, NOLAN informs the sheriff about his demise just before he dies.
Inside the house, though, MELANIE begins to become very ill. Just before she passes out, the camera shows another flashback of her and MAKO taking on two henchmen trying to kidnap her. MAKO is shot and killed in the process.
The heroine wakes up scared and is hesitant to receive ETHAN’s help. Her reserves quickly disappear as the two establish a bond — she reveals her dark past while he explains his experience as a former soldier. Yet, their pleasantries don’t last long as they know they must prepare for one final fight. Worried about his sister’s safety, ETHAN compels SUSAN to leave.
The film reaches its electric dénouement as JIM, SHERIFF WHITLEY, and FRANK — all heavily armed — descend upon the bed and breakfast. MELANIE fires the first shot and the firefight ensues. Both of the heroes struggle, but thanks to their grit and some help from a returning SUSAN, they are able to vanquish their foes.
Hellbent on revenge, MELANIE isn’t quite finished. She interrogates a still alive JIM, sparking another flashback with MELANIE, his wife, MARTHA, MAKO and a mysterious woman. The camera cuts out of the flash and the two are now at JIM’s house. MARTHA answers the door and immediately MELANIE draws a gun on her, asking the whereabouts of the unidentified woman. She doesn’t know, but she shockingly reveals that MAKO’s daughter is still alive!
Learning this, MELANIE ties her up, puts her in the back of the trunk, and drives off. She is starting the next part of her mission, leading into the second adventure of the saga.