Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Frozen (2010) review
Emma Bell (Parker O'Neil), Shawn Ashmore (Joe Lynch), Kevin Zegers (Dan Walker), Kane Hodder (Cody)
Directed by Adam Green
The Short Version: Intense survival picture is incredibly brutal in places and genuinely poignant in others. The makers successfully manage to make nearly an entire movie out of a single set piece, carefully ratcheting up the suspense level and an increasing sense of dread and despair.
Three skiers decide to have one more run after dark just as the slopes are about to be closed. Through mis-communication, the ski lift is shut off leaving the three friends stranded in mid air during a storm. With the temperature rapidly dropping and the knowledge that the resort will be closed for a week, they must decide to brave the elements, or attempt some form of escape.
Harrowing survival horror movie is in the same vein as OPEN WATER (2003) in which a small number of people are cut off from any means of help and must try and survive through a life threatening situation. The premise is simple and has the potential for failure, but director Adam Green keeps the pace tight during the tense moments. There's also some much needed characterization that aids immeasurably during the more disturbing scenes.
You'll also hear some genuinely funny banter between the three friends both before and after they come to be in their terrible predicament. They're just like the rest of us pop culture nerds and we gradually grow to feel for them once they begin to grasp the full measure and hopelessness of their situation. Some of their conversations are on the morbid side which acts as macabre foreshadowing for the tragedy about to take place.
Among the variety of subjects talked about, the horrifying ordeal of the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The choice of either dying from jumping out of the building, or burning to death is bandied about, but becomes reality for the young skiers once they realize help isn't coming. Should they jump, or take a chance that help will come possibly freezing to death in the process. Also, the harsh, freezing temperatures and an impending storm aren't the only deadly odds the stranded vacationers must eventually face.
The same director also churned out the mediocre and nauseatingly overrated, 'slasher in the woods' flick, HATCHET (2006). FROZEN possesses more substance and accomplishes far more using its sole location and limited number of characters than that stalk and kill opus could with its bigger playground and menagerie of ridiculous victims. Still, there will be those who will dislike this movie for any number of reasons as it's not a traditional horror movie. Those who disliked the similar OPEN WATER will likely not find much to sustain their attention here. The movie deserved a wider audience and hopefully it will find one on DVD.
This review is representative of the Anchor Bay DVD.