From what I hear around the blogosphere this film has many divided. Some think it’s absolute crap--to quote my favorite Netflix review: “F...

Frozen (2010)


From what I hear around the blogosphere this film has many divided. Some think it’s absolute crap--to quote my favorite Netflix review: “Frozen is a documentary about how stupid people die,"--or think it's horror gold. For me, Frozen presents a new and terrifying concept, but unfortunately does not go all the way.

Hatchet director and writer Adam Green gives us a film about a trio of skiers trapped on a skilift in the middle of a blizzard. I agree the concept is scary, and rightfully so. Green builds the suspense with eerie shots of the skilift machinery in the film's opener. The stark images are punctuated by the high pitched squeals of metal on metal and the creaks of the chairs as they swing out of the gate. The machinery continues to play this silent yet threatening role. In one shot, we get a bird's eye view of Parker flirting with the skilift operator through the swirling gears of the machine. This is pretty much where the suspense ends.


The victims of this scenario are pretty boy Dan, his girlfriend Parker and best bud Joe. The group presents an interesting dynamic. Parker, the final girl with a masculine moniker, struggles to impress her beau's bff Joe. Meanwhile Joe isn't happy that Parker is edging in on his bromance with best friend Dan. The three are spending a weekend on the slopes and after humoring Parker's antics on the bunny hill, Joe insists the three get in some real skiing which leads to their horrific dilemma.

The strengths of this film are the gorgeous cinematography and obsessive attention to every gory detail. Splintered bones, frostbitten flesh, and torn limbs read so well on screen that it's hard to believe this movie was made on a micro budget. Where Frozen fails is in the lukewarm acting of the main players, which completely strips them of any humanity and empathy the audience might have had for them. The dynamic between Parker, Joe and Dan could make for some serious drama, but instead it falls flat because the emotion isn't there. A perfect example is when Joe blames Parker for Dan's death after Dan makes an unsuccessful pencil dive into the snow. We could have been given a glimpse of the fear and grief that's driving Joe's reaction. Instead he just looks like a jerk and we can't wait for him to freeze to death.


The worst part is when the chair lift turns into a therapist's couch, as Joe and Parker share stories of childhood loves and failures. They even laugh together, seemingly unaware that they are suspended thirty feet above the decaying carcass of their beloved Dan. To make things worse, Green adds swelling music out of a Lifetime special in a desperate effort to give these scenes some emotional punch.

Though I applaud Frozen for doing something new and innovative in horror, I think it doesn't do enough in other departments. It depends so heavily on its concept and wink-nudge references to Jaws and Open Water that it forgets to pay attention to little things like character development that can make or break a film.

5 comments:

  1. I was really surprised by this film. It took me long enough to see due to a lack of interest, but it serves as a nice follow-up to Green's other psychological terror Spiral.

    Far from perfect, I any film that can hold my attention with nothing more than three actors is an achievement.

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  2. "The worst part is when the chair lift turns into a therapist's couch, as Joe and Parker share stories of childhood loves and failures. They even laugh together, seemingly unaware that they are suspended thirty feet above the decaying carcass of their beloved Dan. To make things worse, Green adds swelling music out of a Lifetime special in a desperate effort to give these scenes some emotional punch."

    Good point. I cringed when I heard the bone snap after the jump, but I groaned when it turned for five minutes into an episode of Degrassi. Overall, a good, frightful movie, though.

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  3. Strange,

    How was Spiral? After Frozen I'm not sure I want to go down that road.

    And Rabid,

    When Dan, with broken legs, is screaming at his girl to stay in the chair and not give him her jacket...I giggled. It was just too over the top.

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  4. @Monster Scholar: Spiral is the closest thing to a Hitchcock film that I've seen in years. While it has some of the same flaws as Frozen, it's the characterization of acting of Joel Moore that really make it a good watch.

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  5. I've been waiting for a film about getting trapped on a ski lift for the longest time, it's one of my biggest fears. It's a shame it sounds like it wasn't done very well.

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