Frozen (2010)

Upset that best friend Dan (Kevin Zegers) has invited his inexperienced girlfriend, Parker (Emma Bell), along on their long-awaited skiing trip, Joe (Shawn Ashmore) insists that they put he baby slopes behind them for the day and head up the mountain for some proper thrills. Bribing the chair-lift operator in an attempt to gain last-minute access to the slope before it closes for the night – and the weekend – the trio take their seats and begin their assent. When their journey is cut short due to lax professionalism, they find themselves trapped 100 feet above the ground with no hope of rescue. Left to choose between frostbite, navigating the razor-sharp cabling by hand or taking their chances with the wolves below, the holidaymakers must put their differences aside if they are ever to make it down the mountain alive.

Let’s get the almost contractual comparison to 2003’s Open Water out of the way first. Like Chris Kentis’ shark film, Frozen features a collection of bickering characters forced to re-prioritise their lives when left treading both water and hungry, hungry animals. Boasting largely naturalistic performances and a distinctly low-budget sensibility, each film tries to induce pant-soiling fear with the simplest of premises. Where the films clearly differ, however, is in Frozen director Adam Green’s relative success. These carnivores actually bite.

Frozen is an endurance test, a stripped down and ruthlessly concentrated assault on the fingernails that will undoubtedly leave knuckles white and faces hidden. The splendour of the characters’ surroundings is expertly inverted, as the mountainside’s majesty takes on a decidedly horrible ambience pretty much the moment the chair-lift grinds to a halt. Gruesome enough to make its point without descending into Rothian absurdity, the film paints a picture of the snow-scape realistic enough to put you off the idea of skiing once and for all.

This tautness, however, is completely despite shortcomings in nearly every level of the filmmaking process. With a script that not only signposts the fate of its characters but comes worryingly close to turning you against them; a set-up which is achieved through perhaps the most contrived means imaginable; and a set of performances which are only ever convincing when they’re screaming in agony, the film falls somewhat short of being a bona fide classic.

Aside from the clunky dialogue, the staggering stupidity of the staff (one scene in particular will most likely have you screaming at the television) and a needlessly ambiguous ending, Frozen is a functional and genuinely engaging thriller that will haunt you for many winters to come.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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