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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.


Max Evel said...

I'm going to watch this for sure.
I liked the previews for it.

venoms5 said...

I liked it quite a bit, Max. There's three or four deleted scenes on the DVD. One of them is a dialog exchange I think would have been cool if they'd left in.

J. Astro said...

This is one of those things, and comparisons (like yours) to this as some sort of an "OPEN WATER"-on-ice make me believe I'd better rent it, as I don't tend to ascribe much rewatchability to films like this.

Speaking of "OPEN WATER-on-ice", they should actually do an ice skating show about people stranded in shark-infested waters, come to think of it. That would be fantastic. *takes another hit of acid, imagines how cool that would be*

venoms5 said...

Sounds like a good idea for one o them SyFy Channel movies. I had an idea, too, back when they were taking ideas from fans. The winner got a part in the movie and I forget what else. I never turned it in. FROZEN is one of those movies you either like it, or you don't.

I read some of the reviews for it and a lot of folks were like, "That was stupid, if that were me, I'd of done this..." Nobody can say what they would do in such a situation until you are in that predicament.

I Like Horror Movies said...

I absolutely loved Open Water, so youve given me hope V. Frozen has been getting so many damn negative reviews lately I was starting to give up on seeing it. I thought the premise was genius, but I was reeealllly leery of the writing after Hatchet. Will grab it soon and we can speak later on it.

venoms5 said...

I didn't realize it had gotten bad notices save for what I saw on IMDB and that's hardly a reliable source. Me and Christine both liked it.

Shaun Anderson [The Celluloid Highway] said...

I didnt have high expectations for this after Adam Green's earlier film 'Hatchet'. But after watching this on Saturday night I was pleasantly surprised. This is high concept horror, and the filmmakers pull it off. Only at one or two points does it feel like the premise is stretched, the characters are to be sympathised with rather than despised...a success on many creative levels.

venoms5 said...

I agree with all you said, Shaun. Hopefully his HATCHET 2 will be better than the first over praised film.

Kaijinu said...

aside from his first Hatchet film, this is Green's best flick so far! I love the wolf pack idea; it's not likely wolves attack at broad day light, but who cares?! it's thrills for thrill's sake

venoms5 said...

I totally agree! definitely Green's best movie for me too!

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